Those Extraordinary Twins
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Pages (PDF): 66
Publication Date: 1894
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Originally part of the Pudd'nhead Wilson book, Twain realised during the writing process that the twins were taking a backseat to characters such as Pudd'nhead Wilson, Roxy, and Tom Driscoll. As a result, he took them out and gave them their own short story. He explains all this in the Introduction to this book.
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The conglomerate twins were brought on the stage in Chapter I of the original extravaganza. Aunt Patsy Cooper has received their letter applying for board and lodging, and Rowena, her daughter, insane with joy, is begging for a hearing of it:
"Well, set down then, and be quiet a minute and don't fly around so; it fairly makes me tired to see you. It starts off so: 'HONORED MADAM'—"
"I like that, ma, don't you? It shows they're high-bred."
"Yes, I noticed that when I first read it. 'My brother and I have seen your advertisement, by chance, in a copy of your local journal—'
"It's so beautiful and smooth, ma-don't you think so?"
"Yes, seems so to me—'and beg leave to take the room you offer. We are twenty-four years of age, and twins—'"
"Twins! How sweet! I do hope they are handsome, and I just know they are! Don't you hope they are, ma?"
"Land, I ain't particular. 'We are Italians by birth—'"
"It's so romantic! Just think there's never been one in this town, and everybody will want to see them, and they're all ours! Think of that!"
"—'but have lived long in the various countries of Europe, and several years in the United States.'"
"Oh, just think what wonders they've seen, ma! Won't it be good to hear them talk?"
"I reckon so; yes, I reckon so. 'Our names are Luigi and Angelo Capello—'"
"Beautiful, perfectly beautiful! Not like Jones and Robinson and those horrible names."
"'You desire but one guest, but dear madam, if you will allow us to pay for two we will not discommode you. We will sleep together in the same bed. We have always been used to this, and prefer it.' And then he goes on to say they will be down Thursday."
"And this is Tuesday—I don't know how I'm ever going to wait, ma! The time does drag along so, and I'm so dying to see them! Which of them do you reckon is the tallest, ma?"
"How do you s'pose I can tell, child? Mostly they are the same size-twins are."
"'Well then, which do you reckon is the best looking?"
"Goodness knows—I don't."
"I think Angelo is; it's the prettiest name, anyway. Don't you think it's a sweet name, ma?"
"Yes, it's well enough. I'd like both of them better if I knew the way to pronounce them—the Eyetalian way, I mean. The Missouri way and the Eyetalian way is different, I judge."
"Maybe—yes. It's Luigi that writes the letter. What do you reckon is the reason Angelo didn't write it?"
"Why, how can I tell? What's the difference who writes it, so long as it's done?"
"Oh, I hope it wasn't because he is sick! You don't think he is sick, do you, ma?"
"Sick your granny; what's to make him sick?"
"Oh, there's never any telling. These foreigners with that kind of names are so delicate, and of course that kind of names are not suited to our climate—you wouldn't expect it."
[And so-on and so-on, no end. The time drags along; Thursday comes: the boat arrives in a pouring storm toward midnight.]
At last there was a knock at the door and the anxious family jumped to open it. Two negro men entered, each carrying a trunk, and proceeded upstairs toward the guest-room. Then followed a stupefying apparition—a double-headed human creature with four arms, one body, and a single pair of legs! It—or they, as you please—bowed with elaborate foreign formality, but the Coopers could not respond immediately; they were paralyzed. At this moment there came from the rear of the group a fervent ejaculation—"My lan'!"—followed by a crash of crockery, and the slave-wench Nancy stood petrified and staring, with a tray of wrecked tea-things at her feet. The incident broke the spell, and brought the family to consciousness. The beautiful heads of the new-comer bowed again, and one of them said with easy grace and dignity:
"I crave the honor, madam and miss, to introduce to you my brother, Count Luigi Capello," (the other head bowed) "and myself—Count Angelo; and at the same time offer sincere apologies for the lateness of our coming, which was unavoidable," and both heads bowed again.
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