|Amanda Root and Ciarán Hinds in Persuasion, 1995|
"Oh! Frederick! But I cannot believe it of you. --All idle refinement! --Women may be as comfortable on board, as in the best house in England. I believe I have lived as much on board as most women, and I know nothing superior to the accommodations of a man-of-war. I declare I have not a comfort or an indulgence about me, even at Kellynch Hall," (with a kind bow to Anne), "beyond what I always had in most of the ships I have lived in; and they have been five altogether." - Persuasion
"If you had been a week later at Lisbon, last spring, Frederick, you would have been asked to give a passage to Lady Mary Grierson and her daughters."
"Should I? I am glad I was not a week later then."
The Admiral abused him for his want of gallantry. He defended himself; though professing that he would never willingly admit any ladies on board a ship of his, excepting for a ball, or a visit, which a few hours might comprehend.
"But, if I know myself," said he, "this is from no want of gallantry towards them. It is rather from feeling how impossible it is, with all one's efforts, and all one's sacrifices, to make the accommodations on board such as women ought to have. There can be no want of gallantry, Admiral, in rating the claims of women to every personal comfort high, and this is what I do. I hate to hear of women on board, or to see them on board; and no ship under my command shall ever convey a family of ladies anywhere, if I can help it."
This brought his sister upon him.
|Captain's Quarters, facing the stern|
presence of a larger family onboard (just touring the ship with two kids was a challenge). And what of women who did not have the gentility to be deemed "ladies?" I doubt anything but the most extraordinary of circumstances would land one aboard. Should such a thing occur, perhaps a gallant captain would still provide her with those protections granted to a female of higher class, otherwise she would be in for a harrowing experience, indeed, and perhaps would have even preferred to remain marooned on an island, or wherever she came from, than endure it.