if it comes to the second generation

Tea Addict

Senior Member
Republic of Korea Korean
Hello everyone. I would like to know what "if it comes to the second generation" means in the following sentences:

‘I don’t see that there’s any chance of their getting much,’ replied Jasper, meditatively. ‘Mrs Reardon is only his niece. The man’s brother and sister will have the first helping, I suppose. And then, if it comes to the second generation, the literary Yule has a daughter, and by her being invited here I should think she’s the favourite niece.'

- George Gissing, New Grub Street, Chapter 1

Jasper Milvain, the protagonist of this novel which was first published in 1891 in the United Kingdom, was talking with his sisters and mother at the breakfast table on an autumn day, about his poor friend Reardon and his wife. Mrs. Reardon is from the family of the Yules, and here is her family tree:

There are three brothers in the Yule family.
1st son: John Yule - married, but his wife passed away several years ago, childless
2nd son: Alfred Yule - working in the literary field, married, has a daughter named Marian
3rd son: Edmund Yule - married, passed away some years ago, leaving his wife and a daughter named Amy, who got married to Reardon the novelist and is now Mrs. Reardon

Here, John Yule is very rich, and his health is staggering.
So, talking about the Reardons who are financially struggling, Jasper and his family came to talk of their posibility of receiving inheritance from John Yule.
At this, Jasper expressed his opinion that he didn't see any chance for them to get much money, because John Yule's siblings would take the money first, and, "if it comes to the second generation," the rest would probably go to John's seemingly favourite niece Marian.

In this part, I would like to know what "it" means in the underlined part.
Does it indicate the inheritance money? Or is it just a placeholder?
And, is it right that I understand the three brothers as the first generation, and their daughters (Marian and Amy) as the second generation?

I would very much appreciate your help. :)
  • Tea Addict

    Senior Member
    Republic of Korea Korean
    Dear Glasguensis and Edinburgher,

    Thank you very much for the clear explanations!
    Then it was just a dummy it.
    I truly appreciate your help. :)
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