The Twins by Unknown
"Well, Susan," said her Father one day,
as she came home from school, "I am glad to
see you; I wish to inform you that two young
gentlemen arrived here to-day."
"What are their names, Father?" asked
"I do not know," answered her Father; "I
do not believe they have got any names. They
are very small—so small that at this moment
they are both asleep in the great chair."
"Both asleep in the great chair?" cried
Susan, astonished at what her Father had said,
"I do believe you have been buying two little
"No, I have not," said her Father, laughing.
"Now come with me, and I will show you these
strangers, and then see if you will say they are
Susan went with her Father. He took her
hand, and led her into her Mother's room. The
room was dark, and her Mother was lying in the
bed. Susan was afraid that she was sick. She
went to her and said,—
"Dear Mother, are you sick? You look
Her Mother kissed her, and said, "I am very
weak, my dear child; but do you not want to
see your little brothers?"
"Brothers?—where?" cried Susan. "Have
I a brother?"
"Two of them," said her Father. "Come
here, Susan, here they both are, fast asleep."
Susan went up to the great easy chair, and
on the cushion she saw, all tucked up warm, two
little round fat faces lying close together. Their
noses nearly touched each other, and they looked
"Well, Susan," said her Father, "do you
like the monkeys?"
"Oh, Father!" answered the little girl, clasping
her hands, "I am so glad—I am so happy!
They are exactly alike,—how I shall love them,
the dear little toads!"
"Toads!" said her Father, laughing; "they
don't look a bit like toads."
"Well, I said that because I loved them so,"
replied Susan, "just as you sometimes call me
your little mouse."
For two weeks the little twins slept together
in the great chair, and there was no end to Susan's
wonder and delight. Her Mother had to
tie a bit of red silk around the wrist of one of
them, to tell them apart. They grew very fast,
and were the dearest little fellows in the world,
they had such bright, merry, black eyes, and
were always ready to have a frolic with Susan.
As they grew up, they were so good and so
pretty, that everybody loved them, and a great
many people came to see them. I forgot to tell
you that one was named George, and the other
One day, when the twins were three years
old, they were left alone in the breakfast-room.
The things on the breakfast-table had been cleared
away, except a bowl nearly full of sugar, which
was standing on the table.
Presently the little fellows spied the bowl
of sugar. "George," said James, "if you will
help me with this chair, I will give you some
So both the boys took hold of the heavy chair,
and dragged it to the table. Then James helped
George to climb upon it, and from that he scrambled
up on the table. He walked across, to
where the sugar was, and sat down on the table,
and took the sugar-bowl in his lap.
"Now, you get the stool," said George.
So James got the stool, and put it close to
the side of the table where George was, and stood
You should have seen how their merry black
eyes sparkled, at the fine feast they were going
to have. They did not think that they were
doing wrong, for their Mother had often given
them a little sugar.
So George took the spoon that was in the
sugar, and helped James to a spoonful, and then
took one himself. He was very particular to
give James exactly as many spoonfuls as he took
They were having such a delightful time, that
for some moments they did not speak a single
word. George began first,—
"This is nice," said George.
"I like sugar," said James.
"It is so sweet," said George.
"And so good," said James.
"We will eat it all up," said George.
"We won't leave a bit," said James.
"It is almost all gone," said George.
"There is hardly any left," said James.
All the time they were talking George had
been stuffing his brother and himself with the
Just then their Mother opened the door. She
had opened it softly, and the little boys had not
heard her. When she saw them so busy—with
their round faces stuck all over with crumbs of
sugar, and George sitting on the table, dealing it
out so fairly—she could not keep from laughing.
The twins heard her laugh, so they laughed
too; and George cried out, "Mother, this sugar
is nice—I like it."
"And so do I," said James.
Their Mother lifted George from the table,
and told them they must not do so again, for so
much sugar would make them sick. She washed
their faces, and sent them to play in the garden.
There was a fine large garden at the back of
the house, where they could play without
Three years after this, the twins were sent
to school, where they soon became great favourites,
because they were amiable and good, and
always willing to do as they were told. They
looked so exactly alike, and were dressed so exactly
alike, that often very funny mistakes were
made. I will tell you something that happened,
that was not funny, but it will show you how hard
it was to tell which was George, and which was
One day, the teacher gave the twins a spelling
lesson, and told them that they must know
it perfectly that morning.
Now George, for the first time, was naughty,
and instead of learning the lesson, he was making
elephants and giraffes on his slate; but
James studied his lesson, and soon knew it.
Presently the teacher said, "James, do you know
"Yes, sir," said James. He went up to the
desk and said it very well.
"You know it perfectly," said his teacher;
"you are a good boy. Now go to your seat."
In a few moments he said, "George, come
and say your lesson."
But George did not know a word of it; and
James whispered to him, "I don't want you to
be punished, brother; I will go for you and say it
So James went and repeated his lesson. The
teacher thought of course it was George; he
said, "Very well, indeed, George; you know
it just as well as James: you are
When George heard this praise, which he
did not deserve, he was troubled. He had been
taught never to deceive. He did not think at
first how wrong he had been;
now, he saw
plainly, that it was very wrong; that he and his
brother had been acting a lie.
He whispered to James, "Brother, I can't
bear to cheat, so I will go and tell the teacher."
So he went directly up to the desk, and said,
"Sir, I have not yet said my lesson."
"Why, yes you have," replied the teacher;
"I have just heard you say it."
"No, sir, if you please," said George; "I do
not know it at all. James said it twice, to save
me from being punished."
"Well, George," replied his teacher, "I am
very glad you have told me this. I never should
have found it out. But your conscience told you
that you were doing wrong; and I am thankful
you have listened to its warnings, and made up
your mind at once to be an honest boy. I will
not punish you or James, for I am sure neither
of you will do so again."
The little boys promised him they never
would—and they never did; and they grew up
to be honest and good men.