Mrs Johnstone is uncomfortable about the agreement and questions about it to Mrs Lyons, ‘why did we have to do that?’, this shows that Mrs Johnstone is afraid and discontented about this pact because she knows that it will be hard on her to keep such secret, this also creates tension because the audience know that Mrs Johnstone has regrets and makes us wonder if she is going to keep this secret. When the narrator says, ‘How quickly, an idea, planted’, he means that this decision with having a baby for Mrs Lyons wasn’t decided properly and was a quick decision which will cause problems later on.
Mrs Johnstone knows that coping with nine children is difficult, and has many financial problems, we realize this when the catalogue man says that she is ‘twelve weeks behind in your payment’. Mrs Johnstone’s song also shows her problems with money when she sings, ‘Living on the never never, constant as the changing weather’, this shows that she has debt and has to repay lots of money to people, this creates tension because we wonder if she will continue this way and if she will ever repay the milkman and the catalogue man.
After the twins were born, Mrs Johnstone did not inform Mrs Lyons, ‘they’re born, you didn’t notify me’ says Mrs Lyons; this shows us that Mrs Lyons is too keen and over possessive and wants her child straight away, this also creates tension because we know that Mrs Johnstone has regrets and makes us wonder is she is going to break the ‘binding agreement’. Here the relationship and attitude between Mrs Lyons and Mrs Johnstone is quite the opposite from the friendly gesture when they first met, Mrs Lyons is too desperate but Mrs Johnstone is reluctant but has no choice but to give one away, ‘Don’t tell me which one. Just take him, take him’, this shows that she is trying not to be involved in the separation of the twins, however the same tension continues about the agreement and the promise being broken.
Mrs Johnstone continues to work for Mrs Lyons as a cleaner and continuously sees Edward Lyons, ‘glances into the cot, beaming and cooing’, however Mrs Lyons feels uncomfortable with Mrs Johnstone around the baby and also nervous that she may give the secret away in front of Mr Lyons who is standing there. Here we discover that Mrs Lyons feels insecure about Edward, and the motherhood behaviour of Mrs Johnstone shows us that she still loves her children. This also shows us the relationship between the two women because Mrs Lyons does not want Mrs Johnstone to interfere and come in the way.
Mrs Lyons decides to fire Mrs Johnstone and tries to do it in a friendly manner, ‘we both think it would be better if u left………your work has deteriorated’ and she pushes a fifty pound note into Mrs Johnstones hand. Then tension starts to create as conflicts starts between the two women, ‘If I’m going, I’m takin’ me son with me’, here dramatic tension is created as we wonder if she’ll leave with or without her son.
This also shows that Mrs Johnstone still doesn’t want to know the fact that they are separated and still wants to act as a mother to the child. Both mother and mum’s attitude show that they are equally desperate and over possessive. When Mrs Lyons says ‘if either twin learns that once was a pair, they shall both immediately die’ to Mrs Johnstone, we realize that she has turned into superstition and is using it as defence against Mrs Johnstone and we wonder if this superstition will come true, Mrs Lyons uses this superstition as a threat and as defence for Edward.
Some time after this incident, Mrs Lyons confronts Mrs Johnstone and accuses her of ruining her. In this scene we see Mrs Lyons loosing complete control and revealing her possessive and obsessive nature in full. Here we feel great sympathy for Mrs Johnstone and we realise that despite having very little money to offer her children, she is more kind and reasonable of the two mothers.
Mrs Johnstone continues to love her children, and Mickey at the age of seven was loved the most, we know this because, ‘Mrs Johnstone grabs Mickey and hugs him’, she does this because she has already lost one child and does not want to loose another, this creates tension because we wonder if this motherly bond between her and her son is ever going to break down. At this point Mrs Lyons is forgotten and everything is a focus on Mrs Johnstone and the love of motherhood she gives to Mickey, the separated twin.
From these scenes we learn that motherhood is shared out between Mrs Johnstone with eight children and Mrs Lyons with one child of Mrs Johnstone. We also learn that tension continues through out, with the secret pact and whether it was going to be broken, which did at the end and unfortunately causes a fatal calamity of death. However, the two women love both their children and child in different ways, Mrs Lyons shows motherhood through teaching manners, discipline and giving love, whereas Mrs Johnstone shows love through emotion and the time she spends with Mickey. Overall I think that one mother is not better than the other and the motherly bond between mother and child was equally shared.