The Tragic Story of the Wrong Sisters

27Mar10

A tragic story of sibling rivalry gone awry …

My previous story about the Wrong Sisters, entitled “Heavier than Air“, resulted in a surprising development. I have been contacted by Gerard Faux, a member of the Faux family who is Directeur of the “Société pour la préservation de l’histoire de la famille Faux” (Society for the preservation of the Wrong Family story). Gerard Faux has provided transcripts of several documents, including old diaries of Beatrice and Eveline Faux. These reveal a strange and tragic story that is generally unknown.

It turns out that after the news of the Wright Brothers’ successful flights, the Wrong Sisters were so intrigued by the story that they travelled to the USA to meet the Wright Brothers and to view their amazing flying machine. Beatrice Faux’s diary includes the following passage:

“June 12, 1904:
We finally got to meet the world-famous Wright Brothers in their office. What an occasion! And they were so gracious and so handsome! It was very thrilling. They share the same office, very spartan by French standards, but they are real pioneers. The dominating feature was a large sign that filled most of one wall: ‘Obey Gravity – It’s the Law!’ Ha, ha, such a wonderful sense of humor! Eveline was also swept off her feet by these two enchanting men. Language was no problem – we had instant rapport!”

It seems that the Wright Brothers were just as enamoured of the Wrong Sisters. There followed a heady and soon intimate relationship, with Beatrice Wrong (as she called herself in English) and Orville Wright forming one couple, and Eveline Wrong and Wilbur Wright forming the other couple. The Wrong Sisters ended up staying in the large house shared by the Wright Brothers, and although propriety mandated that each of the four young people had their own room, there was a certain amount of visiting done each night.

All was idyllic passion and happiness until one fateful evening and night in July 1904.

To understand what follows you need to be aware that Beatrice and Eveline were identical twins. To avoid confusion the Wrong Sisters normally did their hair differently and dressed differently to make it easier for people to know who was who. Strangely enough, the Wright Brothers, although there was four years difference in their ages, resembled each other so much that they too were sometimes mistaken for each other, and for this reason Orville cultivated a mustache while Wilbur was always clean-shaven.

One evening when the two brothers were alone together they got to talking and joking about the Wrong Sisters and their upcoming marriage plans. As usual, a certain amount of sibling rivalry was part of their discussions, with “I got the best, you got the rest” remarks flying back and forth.

“You know what they say about identical twins marrying identical twins?” asked Wilbur. “They say that the chances of wife-swapping are fairly good, but that the results are pretty boring!”

This got the Wright Brothers into thinking about whether they could trick the Wrong Sisters and switch places for a night. “If I shave my mustache off, and you wear a false mustache, I’m sure we can pull it off!” declared Orville.

“OK,” replied Wilbur, “you’re on! Tonight?”

Unfortunately, unknown to the Wright Brothers, the Wrong Sisters were sitting just outside the open window and listening! This led to considerable anger (and a little titillation) on the part of the two young French women. But the anger won out, and they decided to sabotage the Wright Brothers’ plan by switching places themselves!

Later that evening the four young people said good night to each other, and retired to their respective rooms, except that Beatrice went to Eveline’s room and Eveline went to Beatrice’s room.

But here’s the problem: The Wright Brothers had gotten cold feet and had given up on their plan! So later that night Orville went to Beatrice’s room and Wilbur went to Eveline’s room, just as they usually did.

The mix-up was not discovered until later that night, unfortunately at a rather late stage in the proceedings.

“You are not the right Wright Brother!” declared Eveline Wrong.

“Of course I am!” retorted Orville Wright. “But you’re the wrong Wrong Sister!”

This led to much discussion and arguments, with the Wrong Sisters and the Wright Brothers all becoming more and more incensed as tempers raged.

“If you two think you can wrongfully wrong us, then you’ve got the wrong Wrong Sisters!” declared Beatrice Wrong. And that was that.

The Wrong Sisters returned to France, and now were confronted by another problem. They were both pregnant, and because of the circumstances neither of them knew for sure which of the Wright Brothers was the father of the coming child!

“We really are the ‘wrong sisters’!” moaned Eveline. “What on earth shall we do?”

“I know,” said Beatrice. “We must travel to a place where we will fit in, where we’ll be just like everyone else. We will go to a country that was founded by many shiploads of ‘the wrong people’.”

The Wrong Sisters emigrated to Australia, and were never heard from again.

The Wright Brothers, incidentally, never married.

The moral of this tragic story? Two wrongs don’t make a right, but two Wrights can make two Wrongs.

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One Response to “The Tragic Story of the Wrong Sisters”

  1. First posted Sept. 19, 2009.

    I’m indebted to someone who posted a comment at Daily Kos for the final punch line.

    On the other hand, there was another person at Daily Kos who apparently swallowed the story, lock, stock and barrel:

    “What an interesting story!
    I would love to read more about the Faux (Wrong) sisters. Are there any books or websites you could suggest?
    P.S. I don’t speak or read French.”

    Or maybe he/she was pulling my leg …


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