Post script

As an afterthought to the last post, I think of the comment made by Sophia Croft, wife of Admiral Croft and sister of Captain Frederick Wentworth in Persuasion, that wives of sailors should be treated like rational creatures instead of fine ladies: “We none of us expect to be in smooth waters all our days.” She and the Admiral enjoy one of Austen's happiest marriages, probably because of this courage toward the weather of life.

And here's another description of the felicity of the Crofts' marriage, observed and admired by Anne Elliot:

They brought with them their country habit of being almost always together. He was ordered to walk to keep off the gout, and Mrs Croft seemed to go shares with him in everything, and to walk for her life to do him good. Anne saw them wherever she went. Lady Russell took her out in her carriage almost every morning, and she never failed to think of them, and never failed to see them. Knowing their feelings as she did, it was a most attractive picture of happiness to her. She always watched them as long as she could, delighted to fancy she understood what they might be talking of, as they walked along in happy independence, or equally delighted to see the Admiral's hearty shake of the hand when he encountered an old friend, and observe their eagerness of conversation when occasionally forming into a little knot of the navy, Mrs Croft looking as intelligent and keen as any of the officers around her.