The whole was tied up for the benefit of this child, who, in occasional visits with his father and mother at Norland, had so far gained on the affections of his uncle, by such attractions as are by no means unusual in children of two or three years old: an imperfect articulation, an earnest desire of having his own way, many cunning tricks, and a great deal of noise, as to outweigh all the value of all the attention which, for years, he had received from his niece and her daughters. He meant not to be unkind however, and, as a mark of his affection for the three girls, he left them a thousand pounds a-piece.One of the really amazing things about Austen is how commonplace her irony can seem untiul we unpack it. For the, rather harsh, irony here is that it is not the child who seduced his great uncle but the great uncle who is stupid old fool with no sense of responsibility or gratitude. Austen slips that in like switchblade so sharp that we don't even feel it go in. And we soon find out that Mr. John Dashwood, father of this not-so-precocious child, is just as bad.
What exactly is wrong with Mr. John Dashwood I'll leave until next Tuesday, in order to focus on what I will rather pretentiously call "the problem of recurrence" in my next post, and second last for today.