Under The Canopy of Heaven

Charlotte Brontë & Mary Taylor

No one understood them as they understood each other. Their joint affairs were to themselves the most interesting things in the world, and their comments on them could have been uttered to no one else.

Mary Taylor in Miss Miles, speaking of Maria and Dora.



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“The axeman had first struck on a Tuesday night, coolly hacking a young Czech tourist to death at the top of William Street, the main artery leading into Kings Cross, and making a perfect getaway. He’d appeared again the following week, in one of the Cross’s laneways, and tried to whack an Irish tourist. This time he’d chosen the wrong man: after a couple of slashes, the victim had knocked him down and fled. To add to the general mayhem, a gang of Koreans then pulled two Korean ‘tourists’ called Kim from a car in Earl Place and laid into them with furniture, golf clubs, fists and boots before making their getaway. A horrified resident filmed the victims being stomped to death.

Perhaps this is what the Chamber of Commerce means when it talks about the unique character of Kings Cross.

For a few blissful days the tourists thinned out, the drug dealers and muggers kept to well-lit streets, and the back alleys became safe for law-abiding citizens. I almost expected little old ladies to return, like fish to the Thames... or was it the swallows to Capistrano?

But when a week passed without an attack, the  hookers, junkies and street kids ignored police warnings and began to trickle back. In their culture, a confrontation with an axe-wielding madman in a dark street was regarded as an acceptable risk.

Life returned to normal, or what passed for it around here. The only reminder of the fuss was a copy of the identikit picture of the axeman fading on the wall of the deli. It made him look a little like Robert de Niro in Taxi Driver.

Lizzie had managed to grab an outdoor table at Roy’s, and was immersed in a newspaper account of the murder.”