No Watch for Benny, No Feathers for Sally
It is now the Season for you to acquire that, at the Expence of your Friends, which may be of Use to you when they are dead and gone, and qualify you to fill some Station in Life that will afford you a decent Subsistance.
--BF to Benny Bache, September 25, 1780
Je fetai toujours mes efforts pour vous contenter, et pour répondre aux bontés que vous avez pour moi.
--Bermy Bache to BF, March 26, 1781
NOBODY KNOWS WHAT THOUGHTS were going through the little boy's head. He had been, at first, the center of all attention, surrounded by an adoring grandmother, proud parents, a childless uncle and aunt always eager to have him visit their mansion across the Delaware, fawning visitors on the lookout for charming stories to tell the faraway grandfather. He had been a little prince. Then a brother was born to share the spotlight with. Grandmother died and nobody would ever call him Kingbird again. The famous grandfather had suddenly popped in from England with a lanky cousin called Temple, whereupon visits with the uncle and aunt had stopped abruptly, indeed they were hardly ever mentioned anymore. A baby sister appeared and disappeared in the space of a few months, leaving the family in tears. Boys started playing war games, his brother toddled up and down the street carrying a toy gun; an old Aunt Mecom arrived from Boston, her house taken by the enemy, and settled in their home; Cousin Temple spent a whole summer in New Jersey, the subject of many whispered conferences. One day the little boy was told he was a fortunate child, just about to sail off across the ocean to learn a new language, receive a European education. Benny Bache had just turned seven.
Franklin, Temple, and Benny left Philadelphia in late October 1776.