With Cora to champion her and her brothers for company, Charley thrived.. Her father is pleased to see his daughter is smart and active. When Ellen has been gone a month, he called her. “Ellen, you need to come home. Your children need you. I need you.”
“Oh Charles, I don’t feel well enough yet. I have been taking the hot baths daily and am just starting to put a little of the weight back on I lost when my nerves were so bad. The doctor here thinks I would benefit from a longer rest. He told me today I should plan on another six weeks. I was going to call tomorrow and let you know.” Ellen had a tremor in her voice as she bargained for more time. She hadn’t even asked after the children.
“I am sure that doctor’s pocket would benefit if you stayed. Ellen, I am your husband and I am telling you. Come home tomorrow. A month is time enough to rest up. You have responsibilities. The baby is sleeping nights and trying to take steps. The boys need their mother. You can’t expect Cora and me to manage any longer. Edna Jones has brought casseroles over twice. The neighbors have been asking when you are coming home.” Charles wasn’t leaving her room to argue.
Ellen was miffed at the mention of Edna Jones and the casseroles. “What business does that hussy, Edna have sniffing around my kitchen? She claims to be so Christian and she’s after you with her husband not dead a year! I’ll catch the train tomorrow.” It was one thing to be a delicate doctor’s wife needing rest and another entirely to have a woman after her husband.
Ellen caught the early train and was home by afternoon. She dumped the leftover casserole in the trash, dish and all. Charles and the boys were ecstatic at her return, but Charley clung to Cora, not remembering her mother. Ellen was not pleased to hear the boys referring to their sister as Charley, but decided to leave that matter for tomorrow.