In honor of this momentous occasion, Penguin Random House is publishing his literary classics with new, gorgeous covers.
Mrs. Twit was no better than her husband.
She did not, of course, have a hairy face. It was a pity she didn’t because that, at any rate, would have hidden some of her fearful ugliness.
Take a look at her.
Have you ever seen a with an uglier face than that? I doubt it.
But the funny thing is that Mrs. Twit wasn’t born ugly. She’d had quite a nice face when she was young. The ugliness had grown upon her year by year as she got older.
Why would this happen? I’ll tell you why.
If a person has ugly thoughts, it begins to show on the face. And when that person has ugly thoughts every day, every week, every year, the face gets uglier and uglier until it gets so ugly that you can hardly bear to look at it.
A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely.
Nothing good shone out of Mrs. Twit’s face.
In her right hand she carried a walking stick. She used to tell people that this was because she had warts growing on the sole of her left foot and walking was painful. But the real reason she carried a stick was so that she could hit things with it, things like dogs and cats and small children.
And then there was the glass eye. Mrs. Twit had a glass eye that was always looking the other way.
The Glass Eye
You can play a lot of tricks with a glass eye because you can take it out and pop it back in again any time you like. You can bet your life Mrs. Twit knew all the tricks.
One morning she took out her glass eye and dropped it into Mr. Twit’s mug of beer when he wasn’t looking.
Mr. Twit sat there drinking the beer slowly. The froth made a white ring on the hairs around his mouth. He wiped the white froth on to his sleeve and wiped on his trousers.
“You’re plotting something,” Mrs. Twit said, keeping her back turned so he wouldn’t see that she took out her glass eye. “Whenever you go all quiet like that I know very well you’re plotting something.”
Mrs. Twit was right. Mr. Twit was plotting away like mad. He was trying to think up a really nasty trick he could play on his wife that day.
“You’d better be careful,” Mrs. Twit said, “because when I see you starting to plot, I watch you like a wombat.”
“Oh, do shut up, you old hag,” Mr. Twit said. He went on drinking his beer, and his evil mind kept working away on the latest horrid trick he was going to play on the old woman.
Suddenly, as Mr. Twit tipped the last drop of his beer down his throat, he caught sight of Mrs. Twit’s awful glass eye staring up at him from the bottom of the mug. It made him jump.“I told you I was watching you,” cackled Mrs. Twit. “I’ve got eyes everywhere so you’d better be careful.”
Roald Dahl (1916-1990) was born in Wales of Norwegian parents. In 1951, Roald Dahl met his future wife, the American actress Patricia Neal, who starred in films including The Day the Earth Stood Still, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and Hud, for which she won an Oscar. After establishing himself as a writer for adults, Roald Dahl began writing children's stories in 1960 and wrote two of his best-known novels, James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the U.S.
In September 1964, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was published initially in the U.S. with the U.K. following a few years later. It would go on to become one of the most famous and best-known of Roald's stories. The idea for the story grew out of his own well-documented love of chocolate and his school-day memories of acting as a taster for a famous chocolate factory. These first stories were written as entertainment for his own children, to whom many of his books are dedicated.
Today, Roald Dahl’s stories are available in 58 languages and have sold more than 200 million books. With more than 40 million Roald Dahl books in print in the U.S. alone, Dahl is considered one of the most beloved storytellers of our time and his popularity continues to increase as his fantastic novels, including James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, The BFG, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, delight an ever-growing legion of fans.
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Copyright © Roald Dahl, reprinted with permission from Puffin Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.
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