Anne of Avonlea
8. Marilla Adopts Twins
Mrs. Rachel Lynde was sitting at her kitchen window, knitting a quilt, just as she had
been sitting one evening several years previously when Matthew Cuthbert had driven
down over the hill with what Mrs. Rachel called "his imported orphan." But that had
been in springtime; and this was late autumn, and all the woods were leafless and the
fields sere and brown. The sun was just setting with a great deal of purple and golden
pomp behind the dark woods west of Avonlea when a buggy drawn by a comfortable
brown nag came down the hill. Mrs. Rachel peered at it eagerly.
"There's Marilla getting home from the funeral," she said to her husband, who was lying
on the kitchen lounge. Thomas Lynde lay more on the lounge nowadays than he had
been used to do, but Mrs. Rachel, who was so sharp at noticing anything beyond her
own household, had not as yet noticed this. "And she's got the twins with her, . . . yes,
there's Davy leaning over the dashboard grabbing at the pony's tail and Marilla jerking
him back. Dora's sitting up on the seat as prim as you please. She always looks as if
she'd just been starched and ironed. Well, poor Marilla is going to have her hands full
this winter and no mistake. Still, I don't see that she could do anything less than take
them, under the circumstances, and she'll have Anne to help her. Anne's tickled to
death over the whole business, and she has a real knacky way with children, I must say.
Dear me, it doesn't seem a day since poor Matthew brought Anne herself home and
everybody laughed at the idea of Marilla bringing up a child. And now she has adopted
twins. You're never safe from being surprised till you're dead."
The fat pony jogged over the bridge in Lynde's Hollow and along the Green Gables
lane. Marilla's face was rather grim. It was ten miles from East Grafton and Davy Keith
seemed to be possessed with a passion for perpetual motion. It was beyond Marilla's
power to make him sit still and she had been in an agony the whole way lest he fall over
the back of the wagon and break his neck, or tumble over the dashboard under the
pony's heels. In despair she finally threatened to whip him soundly when she got him
home. Whereupon Davy climbed into her lap, regardless of the reins, flung his chubby
arms about her neck and gave her a bear-like hug.
"I don't believe you mean it," he said, smacking her wrinkled cheek affectionately. "You
don't LOOK like a lady who'd whip a little boy just 'cause he couldn't keep still. Didn't
you find it awful hard to keep still when you was only 's old as me?"
"No, I always kept still when I was told," said Marilla, trying to speak sternly, albeit she
felt her heart waxing soft within her under Davy's impulsive caresses.
"Well, I s'pose that was 'cause you was a girl," said Davy, squirming back to his place
after another hug. "You WAS a girl once, I s'pose, though it's awful funny to think of it.
Dora can sit still . . . but there ain't much fun in it I don't think. Seems to me it must be
slow to be a girl. Here, Dora, let me liven you up a bit."