我感到，作为一个恭顺 的马奇家族编史家，如不至少用一个章节的篇幅讲述两个最宝贝、最重要的家庭成员，我便没有尽到责任。现在黛西和德米已到了解事年龄。在这个高速发展的时 代，三四岁的孩子便维护起自己的权利来，他们也能得到权利，在这方面他们比许多长辈优越。假如说有这么一对双胞胎面临着完全被宠坏的危险，那便是这两个喁 喁学语的小布鲁克。当然，他们是所有孩子中最出色的，我提及下面的事实便可说明。他们八个月会走路，十二个月能流利地说话，两岁时便能上桌子吃饭了，而且 行为得体，惹人喜爱不已。三岁时，黛西便要"针活儿"，还真的做了一个缝了四条线的袋子。她还在餐具柜上从事家政，技术熟练地操作着一个极小的烹调炉，使 罕娜流出了骄傲的眼泪。而德米在跟爷爷学着字母。爷爷发明了一种新的教字母方式，用他的胳膊和腿组成字母，这样把头和脚的锻炼并为一体。这男孩很早就显露 出机械方面的天才，使爸爸高兴，妈妈惊喜。因为，他试图仿制所有他见过的机器，使育儿室总是凌乱不堪。
他的"缝纫器"--一个古怪的构件，用线头、椅子、晒衣夹组成，还有线轴，那是"圈啊圈（转啊转）"的轮子。另一把椅子背上还挂着个篮子，轻信的妹 妹坐在篮子里。他徒劳地想把她扯上来。妹妹带着女性的献身精神，听凭她的小脑袋撞来撞去，直到妈妈前来搭救。而小发明家愤怒地说道：“干嘛？妈妈，那是我 的升降机，我正在吊她上来呢。“虽然双胞胎性格完全不同，他们相处得还是非常好，一天中极少有争吵三次以上的。当然，德米对黛西横行霸道，却英勇地护卫着 她不受任何别的侵略者的侵犯；而黛西把自己当成划船的奴隶，她崇拜哥哥，认为他是世上完美无缺的人。
黛西是个面色红润、身体圆胖、快快活活的小东西，她讨每个人的欢心，并舒舒服服地在大家心中安顿下来。这个有魅力的小家伙似乎生来就是让人亲吻、拥 抱、打扮，喜爱的，像个小女神。去所有喜庆场合，有了她是让大家赞许的，她的小小德行那样美好。要不是一些小淘气行为使她带着不安分的天性，她就是个十足 的天使了。她的世界，总是阳光灿烂。
“是使你身体活动的东西，就像我手表里的发条使齿轮转动那样。我给你看过的。““把我打开吧，我想看着它卷（转）动。““那我可做不到，就像你不能 打开手表一样。上帝给你上了发条，你就走着，直到他止住你。““是这样吗？“德米接受了这个新的思想，棕色眼睛变得又大又亮。“我就像个手表给上了发条？ “是的，可是我不能告诉你是怎样上的，因为上的时候我们没看到。“德米摸着自己的后背，好像期待发现那里就和手表背面一样，然后他严肃地说道：“我猜抢 （想），上帝在我睡着了的时候上的发条。“接着爷爷仔细解释，他那样人神地听着，使得奶奶焦急地说：“亲爱的，你以为对孩子说这种事明智吗？他眼睛上方的 头骨隆得好高，越来越聪明，已会问回答不了的问题了。““要是他长大了，能问问题了，也就能得到真实的回答。
这些孩子比我们聪明。我不怀疑那孩子能听懂我说的每一个字。好了，德米，告诉我，你的思想放在那里？“假如男孩子像亚西比德那样回答，“的的确确， 苏格拉底，我说不上“，他的爷爷不会吃惊的。可是，他单脚独立了一会儿，像一只沉思着的小鹳鸟，然后以一种深信不疑的平静语调回答：“在我的小肚子里。“ 老先生只好加入奶奶的笑声中，结束他的玄学课。
要不是德米拿出了令人信服的证据，说明他既是一个初露头角的哲学家，也是个道地的男孩子，他也许会引起母亲的焦虑。那些讨论常常会引得罕娜点着头预 言：“那孩子呆在这世上不会久。“可是他转眼就来了些恶作剧，使她消除了担心。那些可爱、肮脏、淘气的小坏蛋们就用这些恶作剧使他们的父母又是烦躁又是欢 喜。
“是的，当真。你说的任何事，“缺乏远见的妈妈回答。她自己准备着把"三只小猫"唱上五六遍，或者豁出去带她的一家去"买一便士小面包"，可是德米 把她逼入绝境，他冷静地回答--“那么，我们去吃光所有的葡萄干。“乔乔姨是两个孩子的主要玩伴和知心人。这三人把小房子弄得乱七八糟。艾美姨对他们来说 还只不过是个名字。贝思姨很快便淡化为令人愉快的模糊记忆。然而，乔乔姨是个活生生的实体，他们充分地利用她，而乔也深深感激他们表示的敬意。可是，巴尔 先生来了，乔便忽视了她的玩伴们。两个小家伙感到不悦、委屈。黛西喜欢到处兜售亲吻，现在失去了她最好的顾客，破了产。德米以那幼儿的观察力很快就发现， 与他相比，乔乔姨更喜欢和"大胡子"在一起玩。虽然受了伤害，但是他隐藏其他的痛苦，因为他不想侮辱对手。
先生们有时会突然一阵兴起，赞美起女士们的小亲戚们来，这是为了女士们的缘故。但是这种假装的爱子女心不自然地附加于他们身上，一点儿也骗不了人。 巴尔先生的爱心却是真诚的，同样也是有效的--因为，在爱情方面和在法律上一样，诚实为上策。他是那种和孩子在一起无拘束的人，当小脸蛋和他的男子汉脸膛 成为有趣的对照时，他看上去特别开心。他的事务，不管那是什么，一天天地留住了他。晚上他很少不来看--嗯，他总是说来看马奇先生，所以，我推测是他有吸 引力。优秀的爸爸误解了，认定他的确有吸引力。带着类似的情绪，他沉迷于长时间的讨论中，直到他那更具观察力的孙子偶然说出一句话，使他突然明白过来。
一天晚上，巴尔先生来访，他停在书房门口，眼前的景象使他大为惊讶。马奇先生躺在地板上，令人尊敬的双腿跷在空中。德米在他身边同样躺着，试着用他 那穿着红色长统袜的短腿模仿爷爷的姿势。两个躺着的人神情那样严肃专注，竟意识不到有旁观者，直到巴尔先生发出洪亮的笑声，乔带着震惊的神色叫道--“爸 爸，爸爸，教授来了！“一双黑腿落了下去了，一颗灰脑袋抬了起来。导师带着泰然自若的庄重神情说：“晚上好，巴尔先生。请稍等片刻，我们就要结束课程了。 好了，德米，摆出这个字母，说出它的名字。““我认识它！“拼命努力了一番，那双红腿摆出了一副圆规的样子，然后聪明的学生得意洋洋地叫道：“这是个 Ｗｅ，爷爷，这是个'Ｗｅ'！““他是个天生的韦勒，“乔笑道。她爸爸收回了双腿。她侄子试图倒立，那是他对下课了感到满意的唯一表达方式。
“你该给小朋友留一些。糖果给亲爱的嘛，小大人。“巴尔先生给了乔一些。他的表情使乔奇怪巧克力是不是众神饮用之酒。德米也看到了他的笑容，他为之 感动，率直地询问道--“大男孩也喜欢大女孩吧，教授？“就像小华盛顿那样，巴尔先生"不能说谎"。于是，他含含糊糊地回答他相信有时是这样的。他的语调 使得马奇先生放下了衣刷，瞥了瞥乔羞怯的面容，然后沉进椅子里，他看上去好像那"早熟的孩子"把一个又甜又酸的念头放入了他的脑子。
I cannot feel that I have done my duty as humble historianof the March family, without devoting at least one chapter tothe two most precious and important members of it. Daisy andDemi had now arrived at years of discretion, for in this fastage babies of three or four assert their rights, and get them,too, which is more than many of their elders do. If thereever were a pair of twins in danger of being utterly spoiledby adoration, it was these prattling Brookes. Of course theywere the most remarkable children ever born, as will be shownwhen I mention that they walked at eight months, talked fluentlyat twelve months, and at two years they took their placesat table, and behaved with a propriety which charmed all beholders.At three, Daisy demanded a `needler', and actually madea bag with four stitches in it. She likewise set uphousekeeping in the sideboard, and managed a microscopic cookingstove with a skill that brought tears of pride to Hannah'seyes, while Demi learned his letters with his grandfather, whoinvented a new mode of teaching the alphabet by forming letterswith his arms and legs, thus uniting gymnastics for head andheels. The boy early developed a mechanical genius which delightedhis father and distracted his mother, for he tried toimitate every machine he saw, and kept the nursery in a chaoticcondition, with his `sewinsheen', a mysterious structure ofstring, chairs, clothespins, and spools, for wheels to go`wound and wound'. Also a basket hung over the back of a chair,in which he vainly tried to hoist his too confiding sister, who,with feminine devotion, allowed her little head to be bumped tillrescued, when the young inventor indignantly remarked, "Why,Marmar, dat's my lellywaiter, and me's trying to pull her up."
Though utterly unlike in character, the twins got on remarkablywell together, and seldom quarreled more than thricea day. Of course, Demi tyrannized over Daisy, and gallantlydefended her from every other aggressor, while Daisy made agalley slave of herself, and adored her brother as the one perfectbeing in the world. A rosy, chubby, sunshiny little soulwas Daisy, who found her way to everybody's heart, and nestledthere. One of the captivating children, who seem made to bekissed and cuddled, adorned and adored like little goddesses,and produced for general approval on all festive occasions.Her small virtues were so sweet that she would have been quiteangelic if a few small naughtinesses had not kept her delightfullyhuman. It was all fair weather in her world, and everymorning she scrambled up to the window in her little nightgownto look our, and say, no matter whether it rained or shone,"Oh, pitty day, oh, pitty day!" Everyone was a friend, and sheoffered kisses to a stranger so confidingly that the most inveteratebachelor relented, and baby-lovers became faithfulworshipers.
"Me loves evvybody," she once said, opening her arms, withher spoon in one hand, and her mug in the other, as if eager toembrace and nourish the whole world.
As she grew, her mother began to feel that the Dovecotewould be blessed by the presence of an inmate as serene and lovingas that which had helped to make the old house home, and topray that she might be spared a loss like that which had latelytaught them how long they had entertained an angel unawares. Hergrandfather often called her `Beth', and her grandmother watchedover her with untiring devotion, as if trying to atone for somepast mistake, which no eye but her own could see.
Demi, like a true Yankee, was of an inquiring turn, wantingto know everything, and often getting much disturbed because hecould not get satisfactory answers to his perpetual "What for?"
He also possessed a philosophic bent, to the great delight ofhis grandfather, who used to hold Socratic conversations with him,in which the precocious pupil occasionally posed his teacher, tothe undisguised satisfaction of the womenfolk.
"What makes my legs go, Dranpa?" asked the young philosopher,surveying those active portions of his frame with a meditative air,while resting after a go-to-bed frolic one night.
"It's your little mind, Demi," replied the sage, stroking theyellow head respectfully.
"What is a little mine?"
"It is something which makes your body move, as the springmade the wheels go in my watch when I showed it to you."
"Open me. I want to see it go wound."
"I can't do that any more than you could open the watch. Godwinds you up, and you go till He stops you."
"Does I?" And Demi's brown eyes grew big and bright as hetook in the new thought. "Is I wounded up like the watch?"
"Yes, but I can't show you how, for it is done when we don't see."
Demi felt his back, as if expecting to find it like that ofthe watch, and then gravely remarked, "I dess Dod does it whenI's asleep."
A careful explanation followed, to which he listened so attentivelythat his anxious grandmother said, "My dear, do you think it wiseto talk about such things to that baby? He's getting great bumpsover his eyes, and learning to ask the most unanswerable questions."
"If he is old enough to ask the question he is old enough toreceive true answers. I am not putting the thoughts into hishead, but helping him unfold those already there. These childrenare wiser than we are, and I have no doubt the boy understandsevery word I have said to him. Now, Demi, tell me where you keepyour mind."
If the boy had replied like Alcibiades, "By the gods, Socrates,I cannot tell," his grandfather would not have been surprised, butwhen, after standing a moment on one leg, like a meditative youngstork, he answered, in a tone of calm conviction, "In my littlebelly," the old gentleman could only join in Grandma's laugh, anddismiss the class in metaphysics.
There might have been cause for maternal anxiety, if Demi hadnot given convincing proofs that he was a true boy, as well as abudding philosopher, for often, after a discussion which causedHannah to prophesy, with ominous nods, "That child ain't long forthis world," he would turn about and set her fears at rest bysome of the pranks with which dear, dirty, naughty little rascalsdistract and delight their parent's souls.
Meg made many moral rules, and tried to keep them, but whatmother was ever proof against the winning wiles, the ingeniousevasions, or the tranquil audacity of the miniature men and womenwho so early show themselves accomplished Artful Dodgers?
"No more raisins, Demi. They'll make you sick," says Mammato the young person who offers his services in the kitchen withunfailing regularity on plum-pudding day.
"Me likes to be sick."
"I don't want to have you, so run away and help Daisy make patty cakes."
He reluctantly departs, but his wrongs weigh upon his spirit,and by-and-by when an opportunity comes to redress them, he outwitsMamma by a shrewd bargain.
"Now you have been good children, and I'll play anything youlike," says Meg, as she leads her assistant cooks upstairs, whenthe pudding is safely bouncing in the pot.
"Truly, Marmar?" asks Demi, with a brilliant idea in his well-powdered head.
"Yes, truly. Anything you say," replies the shortsighted parent,preparing herself to sing, "The Three Little Kittens" half adozen times over, or to take her family to "Buy a penny bun," regardlessof wind or limb. But Demi corners her by the cool reply...
"Then we'll go and eat up all the raisins."
Aunt Dodo was chief playmate and confidante of both children,and the trio turned the little house topsy-turvy. Aunt Amy was asyet only a name to them, Aunt Beth soon faded into a pleasantlyvague memory, but Aunt Dodo was a living reality, and they made themost of her, for which compliment she was deeply grateful. Butwhen Mr. Bhaer came, Jo neglected her playfellows, and dismay anddesolation fell upon their little souls. Daisy, who was fond ofgoing about peddling kisses, lost her best customer and becamebankrupt. Demi, with infantile penetration, soon discovered thatDodo like to play with `the bear-man' better than she did him,but though hurt, he concealed his anguish, for he hadn't theheart to insult a rival who kept a mine of chocolate drops inhis waistcoat pocket, and a watch that could be taken out of itscase and freely shaken by ardent admirers.
Some persons might have considered these pleasing libertiesas bribes, but Demi didn't see it in that light, and continued topatronize the `the bear-man' with pensive affability, while Daisybestowed her small affections upon him at the third call, andconsidered his shoulder her throne, his arm her refuge, his giftstreasures surpassing worth.
Gentlemen are sometimes seized with sudden fits of admirationfor the young relatives of ladies whom they honor with their regard,but this counterfeit philoprogenitiveness sits uneasily upon them,and does not deceive anybody a particle. Mr. Bhaer's devotion wassincere, however likewise effective--for honesty is the best policyin love as in law. He was one of the men who are at home with children,and looked particularly well when little faces made a pleasantcontrast with his manly one. His business, whatever it was, detainedhim from day to day, but evening seldom failed to bring him out tosee--well, he always asked for Mr. March, so I suppose he was theattraction. The excellent papa labored under the delusion that hewas, and reveled in long discussions with the kindred spirit, tilla chance remark of his more observing grandson suddenly enlightened him.
Mr. Bhaer came in one evening to pause on the threshold of thestudy, astonished by the spectacle that met his eye. Prone uponthe floor lay Mr. March, with his respectable legs in the air, andbeside him, likewise prone, was Demi, trying to imitate the attitudewith his own short, scarlet-stockinged legs, both grovelersso seriously absorbed that they were unconscious of spectators,till Mr. Bhaer laughed his sonorous laugh, and Jo cried out, witha scandalized face...
"Father, Father, here's the Professor!"
Down went the black legs and up came the gray head, as thepreceptor said, with undisturbed dignity, "Good evening, Mr. Bhaer.Excuse me for a moment. We are just finishing our lesson. Now, Demi,make the letter and tell its name."
"I knows him!" And, after a few convulsive efforts, the redlegs tok the shape of a pair of compasses, and the intelligentpupil triumphantly shouted, "It's a We, Dranpa, it's a We!"
"He's a born Weller," laughed Jo, as her parent gathered himselfup, and her nephew tried to stand on his head, as the onlymode of expressing his satisfaction that school was over.
"What have you been at today, bubchen?" asked Mr. Bhaer,picking up the gymnast.
"Me went to see little Mary."
"And what did you there?"
"I kissed her," began Demi, with artless frankness."Prut! Thou beginnest early. What did the little Mary sayto that?" asked Mr. Bhaer, continuing to confess the young sinner,who stood upon the knee, exploring the waistcoat pocket.
"Oh, she liked it, and she kissed me, and I liked it. Don'tlittle boys like little girls?" asked Demi, with his mouth full,and an air of bland satisfaction.
"You precious chick! Who put that into your head?" said Jo,enjoying the innocent revelation as much as the Professor.
"`Tisn't in mine head, it's in mine mouf," answered literalDemi, putting out his tongue, with a chocolate drop on it, thinkingshe alluded to confectionery, not ideas.
"Thou shouldst save some for the little friend. Sweets tothe sweet, mannling." And Mr. Bhaer offered Jo some, with a lookthat made her wonder if chocolate was not the nectar drunk by thegods. Demi also saw the smile, was impressed by it, and artlessyinquired. ..
"Do great boys like great girls, to, 'Fessor?"
Like young Washington, Mr. Bhaer `couldn't tell a lie', sohe gave the somewhat vague reply that he believed they did sometimes,in a tone that made Mr. March put down his clothesbrush,glance at Jo's retiring face, and then sink into his chair, lookingas if the `precocious chick' had put an idea into his headthat was both sweet and sour.
Why Dodo, when she caught him in the china closet half anhour afterward, nearly squeezed the breath out of his little bodywith a tender embrace, instead of shaking him for being there,and why she followed up this novel performance by the unexpectedgift of a big slice of bread and jelly, remained one of the problemsover which Demi puzzled his small wits, and was forced toleave unsolved forever.