August 4th, 1866.—I have not made a success of training Frances. She was taught the Ten Commandments. She committed them to memory, each one was carefully explained, but in spite of this I do believe she has broken them all save the sixth, she has not yet been guilty of murder, though I am afraid the will to do it is not lacking.
Mother keeps in her wardrobe a bottle of chloroform, she is very careful of this dangerous medicine and it is used for Mattie when she is suffering with the toothache. Mother locks the door of the wardrobe and usually puts the key under her pillow, but we have not yet become accustomed to the need for a lock and a key and sometimes it is forgotten.
This morning, just before day, Mother was awakened by the strong and penetrating fumes of chloroform. She opened her eyes and there stood Frances pouring the drug out on her pillow. Mother was so drowsy she could not move but by a mighty effort she screamed, this aroused Father and Frances ran, but he was too quick for her and locked the door by which she had entered the house.
She fell on her knees and implored forgiveness; said she was looking for money; said she did not intend to hurt “Miss Patsy,” but when daylight came her mother and her grandparents were summoned and the case laid before them. The result is that they have sent her to an uncle who lives in Tallahassee, with orders never to come here again. I am sure I would be glad to be rid of her, for she has given me more trouble than words can tell.