Not surprisingly, the coroner committed Ellen to the state hospital for her attack on Cora and Charles. Despite his pleas, Charles could to nothing to mitigate her sentence, though he tried to arrange for private care. On admission, she was a raging lunatic, sedated into submission and kept that way. When Charles was allowed to visit, she never responded to him. Her life was essentially over. She never rallied and succumbed to tuberculosis in less than two years. Though he was relieved the matter was taken out of his hands, Charles truly grieved the loss of the beautiful woman he married.
He was able to bring the girls back home with Josie’s and Cora’s help. They thrived in the loving environment. Geneva was greatly saddened by Ellen’s death, but remained active in Ellen’s children’s lives. Ginny, of course, never knew her mother, but the boys and Charley had all suffered from Ellen’s treatment till they felt nothing but relief. Their lives settled down to a new, happy normal.
Charles never remarried, but over the years, settled into a comfortable arrangement with the widow of an old friend. Neither wanted to unsettle their children or leave their family homes, so they embarked on a discreet friendship that lasted till his death thirty years later. It was much more loving and rewarding than the time he spent with Ellen.
Charley was a sturdy, happy child, in her element when Geneva took her to visit the farm. Ginny adored her, making every step she made. For a long time after Ellen’s departure, Charley suffered from nightmares and startled easily. Charles felt a special affection for her, since she’d suffered at her mother’s hand, indulging her love overalls and farm life, till she reached school age and had to conform. Even then, she wore her overalls at home. Ginny was the image of her mother, though of Charles’s gentle temperament. Soon the boys were off to college, leaving the little girls at home with their father. It was a good life.