The Other Ingleside Twins
4.4 The Other Ingleside Twins

Five months later


"Do not worry, Mrs Doctor Dear, I will get that" said Susan hurrying to the front door and opening it.

A nervous Anne bent down to tend to baby Rilla in the basket in front of her. She was expecting Mrs Alec Davis to call. If she twigged the true heritage of Shirley, who was now playing with some blocks on the rug in the centre of the floor, it would be all over the village in hours.

"Anne dearie, we are SO happy to see you up and about," said Mrs Alec Davis, who had arrived in the company of Mrs Marshall Elliott.

"When I heard Edna was coming up, I insisted on coming too" said Mrs Elliott "You've been incapacitated far too long.

"I wanted to call on you before," added Mrs Davis "but you were so ill after Shirley was born. You know the good doctor was so worried about you, he didn't even tell us you'd had another son!"

"Just like a man" added Mrs Elliott.

"I can't believe you have another set of twins - Irish twins*, Anne" Mrs Davis exclaimed. "Look at wee Rilla, such a beauty, she has Anne's nose, don't you think Cornelia? And Shirley, well those are the doctor's eyes for sure, but his colouring is not really that of the other children, is it."

Gilbert, who was listening at the door held his breath.

"Why Edna, he favours his father's mother."Asserted Cornelia Elliott,"You remember Old Mrs Blythe. No? Maybe you weren't here the summer she visited. Yes, he looks just like her."

Anne looked up astonished just in time to see Mrs Elliott give her a small wink.

The rest of the visit passed off uneventfully. About an hour later, the visitors took their leave.

"No, don't you stand up Mrs Doctor dear," said Susan "I'll see the ladies out. "

At the door, Mrs Elliott paused "Oh, I plumb forgot, I have a gift for Anne in my bag from Leslie, no you wait here Edna, I'll just pop back into the parlour and hand it to Anne."

As Susan and Mrs Davis stood on the porch chatting, Mrs Elliott rushed back in and handed Anne a parcel. "From Leslie," she said, then added "That went quite well didn't it? You won't have to worry now, once Edna's mind is made up there's no going back"

"How…." Anne was so astonished she was, for once in her life, beyond words.

"Because I know men" said Mrs Elliott "Oh yes, your doctor is one of the better ones, but he's still a man and prone to the sins of men."

"Yes, Edna, I'm coming" she shouted in response to a cry from the door and quickly headed outside, confident that the Doctor's secret was safe and no one would ever question the parentage of Shirley Blythe.

* 'Irish Twins' was the 19th Century's racist term used for children born less than a year apart. Today we'd say 'tandem twins'.