Bad Children of History #20: The Twin Terrors

The only thing worse than a Bad Child of History is TWO Bad Children of History. Behold: Bobby and Dotty, the twin stars of Ellis Parker Butler’s “The Lady Across the Aisle”.


Butler’s story was published in the December 1905 issue of McClure’s Magazine, and the delightful illustrations are by Phillips Ward.

As for Bobby and Dotty, they were left in the care of their bachelor uncle while their parents were in Florida.

Uncle Jack said they were ‘peaches,’ and the older folks said they were ‘terrors.’ … In cases of necessity they were indivisible allies; in all other cases they were sworn enemies, even to having a code of warfare.

The story has an overarching narrative about Uncle Jack and a pretty single woman on the train, as well as the twins’ efforts to keep Uncle Jack from wanting to marry said “Lady Across the Aisle”, but really, it’s about the twins fighting.

The story’s 9 pages are littered with images of the twins quarreling, punching, teasing, pinching, and insulting each other. Bobby solemnly tells Dotty that her nose is “too uppish for anything”, Dotty accuses Bobby of being “all blue legs”, and Bobby retorts that Dotty is a monkey. You get the point.

They’re so bad, and so historical. Look out for these two.

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