It was the gathering of a clan of strangers. It had been years since they had seen or communicated with one another. Judge Tyler Stanford arrived in Boston by plaiie Kendall Stanford Renaud flew in from Paris.

Marc Renaud took the tram from New York. Woody Stanford and Peggy drove up from Hobe Sound. The heirs had been notilied that the funeral services would take place at King's Chapel. The street outside the church was barricaded, and there were policemen to hold back the crowd that had gathered to watch - the dignitaries arrive. The vice president of the United States was there, as well as senators and ambassadors and statesmen from as far away as Turkey and Saudi Arabia. During his lifetime, Harry Stanford had cast a large shadow, and all seven hundred seats in the chapel would be occupied. 128 '.Tyler and Woody and Kendall, with their spouses, met inside the vestry. It was an awkward meeting. They were alien to one another, and the only thing they had . common was the body of the man in the hearse outside the church. ' is my husband, Marc,' Kendall said. ' is my wife, Peggy. Peggy, my sister, Kendall, . my brother, Tyler.' There were polite exchanges of hellos. They stood there, uncomfortably studying one another, until an usher came up to the group. ' me,' he said in a hushed voice. ' services are about to begin. Would you follow me, please?' He led them to a reserved pew at the front of the chapel- They took their seats and waited, each preoccupied with his or her own thoughts. I To Tyler, it felt strange to be back in Boston. The only good memories he had of it were when his mother and Rosemary were alive. When he was eleven, Tyler had seen a print of the famous Goya painting Saturn Devouring His Son, and he had always identified it with his father. And now, Tyler, looking over at his father's coffin as it was carried into the church by the pallbearers, thought, Saturn is dead. V know your dirty little secret.' The minister stepped into the chapel's historic wineglass shaped pulpit. - 129 "'Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: and whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die."' Woody was feeling exhilarated. He had taken a hit of heroin before coming to the church, and it had not worn off yet. He glanced over at his brother and sister. Tyler has put on weight. He looks like a judge. Kendall has turned into a beauty, but she seems to be under a strain. I wonder if it's because Father died? No. She hatedhim as much as Idid. He looked at his wife, seated next to him. Im sorry I didn't get to show her off to the old man. He would have died of a heart attack. The minister was speaking. "'Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him. For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust."' Kendall was not listening to the service. She was thinking about the red dress. Her father had telephoned her in New York one afternoon.

"So you've become a big-shot designer, have you? Well, let's see how good you are. I'm taking my new gir#'riend to a charity ball Saturday night. She's your size. I want you to design a dress for her." "Saturday? I can't, Father. I.. ''ll do it.' 130 @And she had designed the ugliest dress she could conceive of. It had a large black bow in front and yards of ribbons and lace. It was a monstrosity. She had sent it to her father, and he had telephoned her again. ' got the dress. By the way, my giry'riend can't make it Saturday, so you're going to be my date, and you're going to wear that dress." And then the terrible phrase: ' don't want to dbgppoint me, do yotc?' I And she had gone, not daring to change the dress, and had spent the most humiliating evening of her life. 4,For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away;blessed be the name of the Lord!"' Peggy Stanford was uncomfortable. She was awed by the splendor of the huge church and the elegantlooking people in it. She had never been to Boston before, and to her it meant the world of Stanfords, with all its pomp and glory. These people were so much better than she was. She took her husband's hand. "'All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field ... The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand forever." 131 Marc was thinking about the blackmail letter that his wife had received. It had been worded very carefully, very cleverly. It would be impossible to find out who was behind it. He looked at Kendall, seated next to him, pale and tense. How much more can she take? he wondered. He moved closer to her. "'Unto God's gracious mercy and protection we commit you. The Lord bless you and keep you. The Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you and give you peace, now and forever. Amen."' With the service finished, the minister announced, The burial services will be private - family members only.* Tyler looked at the coffin and thought about the body inside. Last night, before the casket was secured, he had gone straight from Boston's Logan International Airport to the viewing at the funeral home. He wanted to see his father dead. Woody watched as the coffin was carried out of the church past the staring mourners, and he. smiled: Give the peopk what they want. The graveside ceremony at the old Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge was brief. The family watched Harry Stanford's body being lowered to its final resting place, and as the dirt was being thrown onto the casket 132 the minister said, "There's no need for you to stay any longer if you don't wish to.' Woody nodded. '.' The effect of the heroin was beginning to wear off, and he was starting to feel -Jittery. ''s get the hell out of here.' Marc said, ' are we going?' Tyler turned to the group. ''re staying at Rose Hill. It's all been arranged.,We'll stay there until the estate is settled." few minutes later, they were in limousines on their way to the house. Boston had a strict social hierarchy. The nouveaux riches lived on Commonwealth Avenue, and the social climbers on Newbury Street.

Less affluent old families lived on Marlborough Street. Back Bay was the city's newest and most prestigious address, but Beacon Hill was still the citadel for Boston's oldest and wealthiest families. It was a rich mixture. of Victorian townhouses and brownstones, old churches and chid shopping areas. Rose Hill, the Stanford estate, was a beautiful old Victorian house that stood amid three acres of land on Beacon Hill. The house that the Stanford children had grown-up in was filled with unpleasant memories. When the limousines arrived in front of the house, the passengers got out and stared up at the old mansion. ' can't believe Father isn't going to be inside, waiting for us,' Kendall said.

133 Woody grinned. ''s too busy trying to run things In hell.' Tyler took a deep breath. ''s go.' As they approached the front door it opened, and Clark, the butler, stood there. He was in his seventies, a dignified, capable servant who had ' at Rose Hill for more than thirty years. He had watched the children grow up, and had lived through all the scandals. Clark's face lit up as he saw the group. ' afternoon!' Kendall gave him a warm hug. ', ifs so good to see you again-" been a long time, Miss. Kendall."'s Mrs. Renaud now. This is my husband, Marc." do you do, sir?' "My wife has told me a great deal about you." too terrible I hope,'sir.' , the contrary.

She has only fond memories of YOU. ' you, sir.1 Clark turned to Tyler. ' afternoon, Judge Stanford.", Clark.' . ''s a pleasure to see you, sir." you. You're -looking very well." are you, sir. I'm so sorry about what has happened." you. Are you set up here to take care of all of us?' 134 Goh, yes. I think we can make everyone comfortable. ' I in my old room?' Clark smiled. ' right.' He turned to Woody. 411m pleased to see you, Mr. Woodrow. I want to -' Woody grabbed Peggy's arm. ' on,' he said curtly. ' want to get freshened up.' The others watched as Woody pushed past them ' took Peggy upstairs. The rest of the group walked into the huge drawing room. The room was dominated by a pair of massive Louis XIV armoires.

Scattered around the room were a giltwood console table with a molded marble top, and an array of exquisite period chairs and couches. An olu chandelier hung from the high ceiling. On the walls were dark medieval paintings. Clark turned to Tyler. ' Stanford, I have a message for you. Mr. Simon Fitzgerald would like you to telephone him to tell him when it would be convenient to arrange a meeting with the family." is Simon Fitzgeraldt Marc asked. Kendall replied. ''s the family attorney. Father has been with him forever but we've never met him." presume he wants to discuss the disposition of the estate,' Tyler said.

He turned to the others. ' it's all right with all of you, I'll. arrange for him to meet us here tomorrow morning." w;ll be fine,' Kendall said. 135 ' chef is preparing dinner,'Clark told them.'Will eight o'clock be satisfactory?",' Tyler said. ' you." and Millie will show you to your rooms.' Tyler turned to his sister and her husband. ''ll meet down here at eight, shall we?' As Woody and Peggy entered their bedroom upstairs, Peggy asked, ' you all right?"'m fine,' Woody snapped. ' me alone.' She watched him go into the bathroom and slam the door shut. She stood there, waiting.

Ten minutes later, Woody came out. He was smiling. ', baby."."

"Well, how do you like the old house?"'s ... it's enormous."'s a monstrosity.' He walked over to the bed and put his arms around Peggy.

"This is my old room. These walls were covered with sports posters - the Bruins, the Celtics, the Red Sox. I wanted to be an athlete. I had big dreams. In my senior year in boarding school, I was captain of the football team. I got offers of admission from half a dozen college coaches." one did you take?' He shook his head. ' of them. My father said they were only interested in the Stanford name, that they just wanted money from him. He sent me to an engineering school where they didn't play football.' 136 He was silent for a moment. Then he mumbled, ' could'a been a contenda .. She looked at him puzzled.

"Whaff He looked up. ''t you ever see On the Waterfront?' 6NO. t ' was a line that Marlon Brando said. It means we both got screwed." father must have been touih.' Woody gave a short, derisive laugh.

"That's the nicest thing anyone has ever said about him. I remember when I was just a kid, I fell off a horse. I wanted to get back on and ride again. My father wouldn't let Ine..You'll never be a rider," he said.

"You're too clumsy."' Woody looked up at her. ''s why I became a nine-goal polo player.' They came together at the dinner table,,strangers to one another, seated in an uncomfortable silence, their only connection childhood traumas. Kendall looked around the room.

Terrible memories mingled with an appreciation for its beauty. The dining table was classical French, an early Louis XV, surrounded by Directoire walnut chairs. In one comer was a blue-and-cream. painted .

French provincial comer armoire. On the walls were drawings by Watteau and Fragonard. Kendall turned to Tyler. ' read about your decision in the Rorello case. He deserved what you gave him.' 137 ' must be exciting being a judge,' Peggy said. ' it is." kind of cases do you handlet Marc inquired. ' cases - rapes, drugs, murder.' Kendall turned pale and started to say something, and Marc grabbed her hand and squeezed it as a warning. Tyler said politely to Kendall, ''ve become a successful designer.' Kendall was finding it hard to breathe. '." fantastic,' Marc said. ' Marc, what do you do?"'m with a brokerage house.", you're one of those young Wall Street millionaires.", not exactly, judge. I'm really just getting started.' Tyler gave Marc a patronizing look. ' guess it's lucky you have a successful wife.' Kendall blushed and whispered in Marc's ear, ' no attention. Remember I love you.' Woody was beginning'to feel the effect of the drug. He turned to look at his wife.

"Peggy could use some decent clothes,' he said. ' she doesn't care how she looks.'Do you, angelt Peggy sat there, embarrassed, not knowing what to say. ' a little waitress costume?'Woody suggested. 138 said, ' me.' She got up from the table Red upstairs. They were all staring at Woody. He grinned. ''s oversensitive. So, we're having a discussion about the will tomorrow, eh?"'s right,' Tyler said.

"I'll make you a bet the old man didn't leave us one dime.' Marc said, "But there's so much money in the A*ate .. Woody snorted. ' didn't know our father. He probably left us his old jackets and a box of cigars. He liked to use his money to control us. His favorite, line was I I You don't want to disappoint me, do yotc? " And we all behaved like good little children because, as you said, there was so much money.

Well, I'll bet the old man found a way to take it with him.' Tyler said, "We'll know tomorrow, won't we?' Early the following morning, Simon Fitzgerald and Steve Sloane arrived. Clark escorted them into the library. ''ll inform the family that you're here,'he said. ' you." They watched him leave. The library was huge and opened onto a garden through two large French doors. The room was paneled in dark-stained oak, and the walls were lined with bookcases filled with handsome leather-bound volumes. There was a scattering of comfortable chairs and Italian reading lamps. In one comer stood a 139 customized beveled-glass and ormolu-mounted mahogany cabinet that displayed Harry Stanford's enviable gun collection. Special drawers had been designed beneath the display case to house the ammunition. ''s going to be an interesting morning,' Steve said. ' wonder how they're going to react."'ll find out soon enough.' Kendall and Marc came into the room first. Simon Fitzgerald said," Good morning. I'm Simon Fitzgerald. This is my associate, Steve Sloane."'m Kendall Renaud, and this is my husband, Marc.' The men shook hands. Woody and Peggy entered the room. Kendall said, ', this is Mr. Fitzgerald and Mr. Sloane.' Woody nodded. '.

Did you bring the cash with YOUT ', we really ..."'m only kidding!

This is my wife, Peggy.' Woody looked at Steve. ' the old man leave me anything or ... T Tyler entered the room. ' morning." Stanfordt - '."'m Simon Fitzgerald, and this is Steve Sloane, my associate. It was Steve who arranged to have your father's body brought back from Corsica.' Tyler turned to Steve. ' appreciate that. We're not 140 what happened exactly. The press has had so many different versions of the story. Was there foul @'.`play involved?' 7. '. It seems to have been an accident. Your father's was caught in a terrible storm off the coast of

[email protected]

/* */

According to a deposition from Dmitri Kamv-1 y, his bodyguard, your father was standing on the outside veranda of his cabin and the wind blew some Oapers out of his hand. He reached ior them, lost his [email protected] balance and fell overboard. By the time they recovered W body, it was too late." a horrible way to die.' Kendall shuddered.

"Did you talk to this Kaminsky person?'Tyler asked. ', no.

By the time I arrived in Corsica, he had left.' Fitzgerald said, ' captain of the yacht had advised your father not to sail into that storm, but for he was in a hurry to return here. He had some reason arranged for a helicopter to bring him back. There was some kind of urgent problem-' Tyler asked, ' you know what the problem wast back here. '. I cut short my vacation to meet him 1 don't know what Woody interrupted. ''s all very interesting, but it's ancient history, isn't it? Let's talk about the will. Did he leave us anything or nott His hands were twitching. ' don't we sit down?' Tyler suggested. They took chairs. Simon Fitzgerald sat at the desk, 141 facing them. He opened a briefcase and started to take out some papers. Woody was ready to explode. '? For God's sake, did he or didn't het Kendall said, Woody ..." know the answer,'Woody said angrily. ' didn't leave us a damn cent.' Fitzgerald looked into the faces of the children of Harry Stanford. ' a matter of fact,' he said, ' of you will share equally in the estate.' Steve could feel the sudden euphoria that swept through the room. Woody was staring at Fitzgerald, openniouthed. '?

Are you seriousr Hejumped to his feet. ''s fantastic!' He turned to the others. ' you hear that? The old bastard finally came through!" He looked at Simon Fitzgerald. ' much money are we talking abouff ' don't have the exact figure. According to the latest issue of Forbes magazine, Stanford Enterprises is worth six billion dollars. Most of it is invested in various corporations, but there is roughly four hundred million dollars available in liquid assets.' Kendall was listening, stunned. ''s more than a hundred million dollars for each of us. I can't believe it!' Fmfree, she thought. I can pay them off and be rid of themforever. She looked at Marc, her @ace shining, and squeezed his hand. ',' Marc said. He knew more than 142 1.1be others what the money would mean. Simon Fitzgerald spoke up. ' you know, ninety-nine percent of the shares in Stanford Enterprises was held by your father. So those shares will be divided . among you. Also, now that his father is deceased, Judge Stanford owns outright that other one percent that had been held in trust. Of course, there will be certain formalities. Furthermore, I should inform you that there is a possibility of another heir being involved." heirt Tyler asked.

"Your father's will specifically provides that the estate is to be divided equally among his issue.' Peggy looked puzzled. ' ... what do you mean by issuet Tyler spoke up. '-born descendants and legally adopted descendants.' Fitzgerald nodded. ' is correct. Any descendant born out of wedlock is deemed a descendant of the mother and the father, whose protection is established under the law of the jurisdiction.? , - ' are you saying?' Woody -asked impatiently. ''m saying that there may be'another claimant.' Kendall looked at him. ' Simon Fitzgerald hesitated. There was no way to be tactful. ''m sure that you are all aware of the fact that a number of years ago, your father sired a child by a governess who worked here." Nelson," Tyler said. 143 '. Her daughter was born at St. Joseph's Hospital in- Milwaukee. She named her Julia.' The room was thick with silence. "Hey!" Woody exclaimed. ' was twenty-five years ago-P '-six, to be exact., Kendall asked, ' anyone know where she is?' Simon Fitzgerald could hear Harry Stanford's voice: ' wrote to tell me that it was a girl. Well, ifshe thinks she's going to get a dirne out of me, she can go to hell.",' Fitzgerald said slowly. ' one knows where she is."

"Then what the hell are we talking about?' Woody demanded. ' just wanted all of you to be aware that if she does appear, she will be entitled to an equal share of the estate." don't think we have anything to worry about,' Woody said confidently. ' probably never even knew who her father was.' Tyler turned to Simon Fitzgerald. ' say you don't know the exact amount of the estate. May I ask why not?"

"Because our firm handles only your father's personal affairs. His corporate affairs are represented by two other law firms. I've been in touch with them and have asked them to prepare financial statements as soon as possible." kind of time frame are we talking aboutt 144 @'p Xendall asked anxiously. We will need $100.000 immediately to cover our expenses. ' two to three months.' Marc saw the consternation on his wife's face. He Wrned to Fitzgerald. ''t there some way to hurry ,.,things along?' Steve Sloane answered. ''m afraid not. The will has io go through probate court, and their calendar is rather heavy right now." is a probate court?' Peggy asked. ' is from the past participle of probare - to prove. it's the act of -" didn't ask you for a damned English lesson!' Woody exploded. ' can't we just wrap things up no Tyler turned to his brother. ' law doesn't work that way. When there's a death, the will has to be filed in the probate court. There has to be an appraisal of all assets - real estate, closely held corporations, cash, jewelry - then an inventory has to be prepared and filed in the court. Taxes have to be taken care of, and specific bequests paid. After that,- a petition is filed for permission to distribute the balance of the estate to the beneficiaries.' Woody grinned, ' the hell. I've waited almost forty years to be a millionaire. I guess I can wait another month or two.' Simon Fitzgerald stood up. ' from your father's bequests to you, there are some minor gifts, 145 but they don't affect the bulk of the estate." Fitzgerald looked around the room. ', if there's nothing else ..

Tyler rose. ' think not. Thank you, Mr. Fitzgerald, Mr. Sloane. If there are any problems, we'll be in touch.' Fitzgerald nodded to the group.

%adies and gentlemen.' He turned and went toward the door, Steve Sloane following him. Outside, in the driveway, Simon Fitzgerald turned to Steve. ', now you've met the family. What do you think?" was more like a celebration than a mourning. I'm puzzled by something, Simon. If their father hated them as much as they seem to hate him, why did he leave them all that money?' Simon Fitzgerald shrugged. ''s something we'll never know. Maybe that's why he was coming to see me, to leave the money to someone else.' None of the group was able to sleep that night-, each lost in his or her own thoughts. Tyler was thinking, It's happened. It's really happenedl I can afford to give Lee the world Anything! Everything! Kendall was thinking, As soon as I get the money, ru find a way to buy them off permanently, and I'll make sure they never bother me again. Woody was thinking, I'm going to have the best string 146 of polo ponies in the world. No more borrowing other people's ponies. rm going to be ten goals! He glanced over at Peggy, sleeping at his side. Thefirst thing I'll do is get rid of this stupid bitch. Then he thought, No, I can't do that ... He got out of bed and went into the bathroom. When he came out, he was feeling wonderful. The atmosphere at breakfast the next morning was exuberant. ',' Woody said happily, ' suppose all of you have been making plans.' Marc shrugged. ' does one plan for something like this? It is an unbelievable amount of money.' Tyler looked up. ''s certainly going to change all ur live..

Woody nodded. ' bastard should have given it to us while he was alive, so we could have enjoyed it then. If it's not impolite to hate the dead, I have to tell you something ...' Kendall said reproachfully, "Woody ...", let's not be hypocrites.- We all despised him, and he deserved it. Just look what he tried to -' Clark came into the room. He stood there, apologetically, ' me,' he said.- ' is a Miss. Julia Stanford at the door." Copyright 2016 - 2023