The new baby thrived despite its presumed prematurity. Charles decided perhaps it was just a tiny, full-term infant, after all. Ellen couldn’t have been happier. Her mother reminded her that she had weighed a bit less than five pounds at birth and had done fine. A dainty little girl was what Ellen had always wanted, anyway. “My boys are fourteen and twelve now. I’ve been lonesome at home all by myself. Cora, you have to get my Christening Gown from Mother. Ask Reverend Parker to stop by so we can schedule the Christening. I’d love to have it in six weeks, but we may not get everything done by then. This is the prettiest baby of all, don’t you agree, Charles?” Ellen’s eyes glittered. It seemed she couldn’t talk fast enough. She slapped at Cora, who was brushing her hair. “Damn it, Cora! You are pulling!” Cora put the brush on the dressing table, out of Ellen’s reach. Ellen had never treated her warmly, but this behavior was bizarre. Geneva looked shocked at her daughter’s behavior.
“She’s a beauty, but I think she looks a lot like Charley. She’s just not as big.” Ellen turned on him in a fury. “Who is this Charley you keep talking about? I told you I don’t want to hear any more about him.” With this, she broke down into ragged weeping. “Why can’t you leave me alone? I told you I wanted to name this one Charlotte, after you, but you just keep at me.” She screamed at Charles in her fury.
“Now, Ellen! Don’t go working yourself up! You are jostling the baby.” Charles efforts to calm her had the opposite effect. Ellen hurled her hand mirror at his head, barely missing him. “Get out of here, you filthy, lying bastard.” Charles moved to the bedside and restrained his wife, gesturing for Cora to take the baby to safety.
“Ellen, let me get you something. You are getting too worked up!” Charles got her tonic as Ellen sobbed hysterically, though she did rally for her medication. Ellen had always been demanding and imperious, but this was something entirely different. He’d never heard her curse.
“Why can’t you just let me enjoy my baby?” she demanded. “Mother, make Cora bring my baby back.” Geneva stepped out when Charles gestured he’d stay with her alone.
“Ellen, I don’t mean to upset you. Let’s don’t talk anymore. I’ll just sit with you till you drift off. Cora can take care of the baby