"You, too, A," Tim said, looking at the other twin.
"I will," Barnaby A promised.
"So will I," offered Jane.
"No. You needn't, because you are a girl. You will never be called upon for important work," Tim told her.
Jane began to cry a little, but very quietly, so that no one would notice. She vowed, through her quiet little tears, that one day she would prove Tim wrong.
"Here is what I wrote," Tim told them, holding up the note. He read it aloud. "'P.S. If there is any reward to be had for this beastly baby, it should go to the Willoughbys.'"
The other children nodded. They thought the P.S. was a good idea.
"You might say must instead of should," Barnaby B proposed.
"Good idea, B. Turn around."
Barnaby B turned and Tim used his back for a table again, erasing one word and replacing it with the other, which Barnaby B could feel him underline. Then Tim read it aloud: "'If there is any reward to be had for this beastly baby, it must go to the Willoughbys.'"
He refolded the note and leaned down toward the basket. Then he paused.
"Turn again, B," he commanded. After his brother had turned to make a table of his back one more time, Tim wrote an additional sentence. He folded the note and pinned it to the baby's sweater.
"Get the gate, Jane," Tim said, and she pulled it open. "Now, one, two, three: HOIST!" Together the boys lifted the basket containing the baby from the wagon. They carried it to the sagging, dusty porch of the mansion and left it there.
The Willoughbys walked home.
"What did you add to the note at the end, Tim?" Barnaby A asked.
"What did it say, Tim?" asked Barnaby B.
"It said, 'Her name is Ruth.'"
Jane pouted. "Why?" she asked.
"Because," Tim said with a sly smile, "we are the ruthless Willoughbys."
From The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry. Copyright Lois Lowry 2008. All rights reserved. Reproduced with permission of the publisher, Walter Lorraine Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin.
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No Man's Land
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