“I want to have it true,” said Madeline, “and interesting, too.”
“But sometimes,” replied Beechnut, “interesting things don’t happen, and in such cases, if we should only relate what actually does happen, the story would be likely to be dull.”
“I think you had better embellish the story a little,” said Phonny—“just a little, you know.”
“I don’t think I can do that very well,” replied Beechnut. “If I attempt to relate the actual acts, I depend simply on my memory, and I can confine myself to what my memory teaches; but if I undertake to follow my invention, I must go wherever it leads me.”
“Well,” said Phonny, “I think you had better embellish the story, at any rate, for I want it to be interesting.”
“So do I,” said Madeline.
“Then,” said Beechnut, “I will give you an embellished account of my voyage across the Atlantic. But, in the first place, I must tell you how it happened that my father decided to leave Paris and come to America. It was mainly on my account. My father was well enough contented with his situation so far as he himself was concerned, and he was able to save a large part of his salary, so as to lay up a considerable sum of money every year; but he was anxious about me.
“There seemed to be nothing,” continued Beechnut, “for me to do, and nothing desirable for me to look forward to, when I should become a man. My father thought, therefore, that, though it would perhaps be better for him to remain in France, It would probably be better for me if he should come to America, where he said people might rise in the world, according to their talents, thrift, and industry. He was sure, he said, that I should rise, for, you must understand, he considered me an extraordinary boy.”
“Well,” said Phonny, “I think you were an extraordinary boy.”
“Yes, but my father thought,” rejoined Beechnut, “that I was something very extraordinary indeed. He thought I was a genius.”
“So do I,” said Phonny.
“He said,” continued Beechnut, “he thought it would in the end be a great deal better for him to come to America, where I might become a man of some consequence in the world, and he said that he should enjoy his own old age a great deal better, even in a strange land, if he could see me going on prosperously in life, than to remain all his days in that porter’s lodge.
“All the money that my father had saved,” Beechnut continued, “he got changed into gold at an office in the Bouleyard; but then he was very much perplexed to decide how it was best to carry it.”
“Why did he not pack it up in his chest?” asked Phonny.
“He was afraid,” replied Beechnut, “that his chest might be broken open, or unlocked by false keys, on the voyage, and that the money might be thus stolen away; so he thought that he would try to hide it somewhere in some small thing that he could keep with him all the voyage.”