Henry Dashwood is a minor character in Sense and Sensibility. He was the head of the Dashwood family of Norland Park in Sussex. Before his death, he was married to Mrs. Dashwood. He had one son, John Dashwood, from a previous marriage. He had three daughters, Elinor Dashwood, Marianne Dashwood, and Margaret Dashwood from the current Mrs. Henry Dashwood. He cared for his second wife and daughters more than he cared for his son.
- "The old gentleman died: his will was read, and like almost every other will, gave as much disappointment as pleasure. He was neither so unjust, nor so ungrateful, to leave his estate from his nephew; but he left it to him on such terms as destroyed half the value of the bequest. Mr. Dashwood had wished for it more for the sake of his wife and daughters than for himself or his son; but to his son, and his son's son, it was secured, in such a way, as to leave to himself no power of providing for those who were most dear to him, and who most needed a provision by any charge on the estate, or by any sale of its valuable woods."
- —Sense and Sensibility
Acquiring Norland Park
Henry Dashwood inherited the property from his uncle, an old man with no heirs of his own. First, however, he and his family became good friends with the man, who enjoyed their company in his final days. The old gentleman left the property in such a way that would destroy half the value, which disappointed Mr. Dashwood. He did leave each of Mrs. Dashwood's daughters with £3,000 apiece. When Henry was dying, he called his only son and heir to him, and made him promise to care for his wife and daughters. John promised, and Henry passed away soothed.
The moment of Henry's passing, Mrs. John Dashwood immediately set up at Norland Park, bringing her son with her. Mrs. Henry Dashwood was displeased, and Mrs. John Dashwood felt snubbed. The latter convinced her husband to turn them out with a lot less than what he promised his father, thus ignoring Henry Dashwood's dying wishes.
Notes and references
- Sense and Sensibility, Ch. 1
- Mrs. Dashwood's first name is unknown.
- Chapter 1 (pp. 21—22; Project Gutensberg, 2010; Online Ebook)