We now offer you a gentler, kinder throwdown: Our favorite older couple. Who will you root for? The Crofts or the Gardiners? Let your votes begin!
Favorite Older Couple
Admiral and Mrs. Croft, Persuasion
A cozy cabin for two on a nice water-tight frigate is all Mrs. Croft desires to be happy with her husband. Admiral Croft, who needs no mirrors to tell him that life is good, is an interesting, loving, and well-traveled man. The Crofts' example of sensible living is in stark contrast to Sir Walter Elliot's extravagant, self-absorbed ways. Their open affection and adoration are a reminder of "what might have been" for Anne Elliot, who had thrown away the chance for a similar happy marriage to Captain Wentworth, Mrs. Croft's brother. In regard to the Crofts' marriage, Jane Austen wrote, “there could have been no two hearts so open, no tastes so similar, no feelings so in unison, no countenances so beloved." Mrs. Croft's potential as a good tenant generated one of my all-time favorite Jane Austen quotes: "A lady, without a family, was the very best preserver of furniture in the world."
Mr. and Mrs. Gardiner, Pride and Prejudice
The Gardiners are a couple that Lizzy has no trouble introducing to Mr. Darcy. Polished, interesting, sensible, cultured, and kind, they are the best of her family that Lizzy has to offer. Of them she can feel no shame. It is through the Gardiners that she remeets Mr. Darcy. In his own environment, he is a relaxed and gracious host, and the Gardiners respond to him as they ought, with genuine respect and liking. Their good opinion of Mr. Darcy, their love for Elizabeth and her sisters, and their genuine regard for the elder Bennets act as a unifying and benevolent force. It is through the Gardiners that Mr. Darcy is able to work behind the scenes to force Mr. Wickham to marry Lydia. Jane concludes Pride and Prejudice with this observation: "With the Gardiners, they were always on the most intimate terms. Darcy, as well as Elizabeth, really loved them; and they were both ever sensible of the warmest gratitude towards the persons who, by bringing her into Derbyshire, had been the means of uniting them."