After this, came eighty-six legacies. Eighty-five dark-hued individuals (women and men), who had lived on the ranch for many years as tenants and retainers, were to receive the last paternal munificence of the old patriarch. At the head of these was Celedonio whom Madariaga had greatly enriched in his lifetime for no heavier work than listening to him and repeating, “That’s so, Patron, that’s true!” More than a million dollars were represented by these bequests in lands and herds. The one who completed the list of beneficiaries was Julio Desnoyers. The grandfather had made special mention of this namesake, leaving him a plantation “to meet his private expenses, making up for that which his father would not give him.”
“But that represents hundreds of thousands of dollars!” protested Karl, who had been making himself almost obnoxious in his efforts to assure himself that his wife had not been overlooked in the will.
The days following the reading of this will were very trying ones for the family. Elena and her children kept looking at the other group as though they had just waked up, contemplating them in an entirely new light. They seemed to forget what they were going to receive in their envy of the much larger share of their relatives.
Desnoyers, benevolent and conciliatory, had a plan. An expert in administrative affairs, he realized that the distribution among the heirs was going to double the expenses without increasing the income. He was calculating, besides, the complications and disbursements necessary for a judicial division of nine immense ranches, hundreds of thousands of cattle, deposits in the banks, houses in the city, and debts to collect. Would it not be better for them all to continue living as before? . . . Had they not lived most peaceably as a united family? . . .
The German received this suggestion by drawing himself up haughtily. No; to each one should be given what was his. Let each live in his own sphere. He wished to establish himself in Europe, spending his wealth freely there. It was necessary for him to return to “his world.”
As they looked squarely at each other, Desnoyers saw an unknown Karl, a Karl whose existence he had never suspected when he was under his protection, timid and servile. The Frenchman, too, was beginning to see things in a new light.
“Very well,” he assented. “Let each take his own. That seems fair to me.”
THE DESNOYERS FAMILY
The “Madariagan succession,” as it was called in the language of the legal men interested in prolonging it in order to augment their fees—was divided into two groups, separated by the ocean. The Desnoyers moved to Buenos Aires. The Hartrotts moved to Berlin as soon as Karl could sell all the legacy, to re-invest it in lands and industrial enterprises in his own country.