Charley was miserable with her measles, but worse than measles was the separation from Cora. The child asked after her constantly. Because she was unsure if she’d ever had measles, Dr Evans asked her not to visit Charley. Ellen demanded Cora’s attention constantly, anyway. Charles was afraid for Ellen to be alone with the baby, so Cora kept it at her side as she worked. Ellen was still abed, but called for the baby, despite Cora’s assurances she’d bring the baby to the minute she stirred. Ellen insisted on calling her Charlotte, though Charles had said that wouldn’t do. She flew into a rage when he opposed her, so he avoided the subject. Ellen had a wild look in her eyes, and Charles began sedating her when he had to be out, fearing Cora might not be able to handle her.
Back at Geneva’s house, Charley was settling in with Josie to read to her and play games. The child had never held anyone’s complete attention before, so she revelled in it. Her father and brothers came to visit daily. Birdie made her special treats. Her grandmother loved having her in residence. Once the initial misery of her illness was past, she was quite content, never thinking to ask after her mother which was fortunate, since her mother continued to ignore her existence.
Charles had mentioned Charley and her measles to Ellen a time or two, but Ellen acted as though she didn’t hear. When the baby was three days old, Charles decided to take on the problem of agreeing on a name before Reverend Parker came by to discuss the christening. Ellen had begun calling her Charlotte, over Charles’s objection.
“Ellen, please listen to me. You’re still confused since this new baby surprised us. That happens after a baby once in a while, but you’ll be clearing up soon. Our other little girl is Charlotte. She’s been with your mother because she has the measles, but she will be home with us soon. I’d like to name this baby after my mother and yours. What do you think of Geneva Catherine? We can call her Genny.”
Ellen flew into a rage at his words. “Why are you tormenting me? You’re trying to convince me I am crazy carrying on about that other Charlotte. You’re not getting rid of me that easy! I know all about that trashy little nurse of yours! Get out of here! Cora! Cora! Get my mama over here! Cora!” She hurled the knife off her breakfast tray at him.collapsing into a paroxysm of frantic weeping as Cora came in to help him settle her down. Cora finally got her to take something to relax her, since she wouldn’t have anything from his hand.
As things settled down, Charles realized Ellen needed more help than he could give her. He made a phone call to a colleague.