Mr. Elliot is shocked and withdraws from Bath. There seems to be no man of any consequence who is a prospective husband for Elizabeth. Mrs. Clay leaves Bath and it is rumored that she is under the protection of Mr. Elliot. He had been making advances to her all along, so that she would not marry Sir Walter. She gives up all hopes of marrying Sir Walter, but the narrator suggests that she may someday be made the wife of Sir William Elliot.
Captain Wentworth helps Mrs. Smith to get some of her husband's money back and she stays a close friend of Anne's.
Anne and Captain Wentworth are utterly happy. The narrator ends with a few sentences on the Navy, a profession "which is, if possible, more distinguished in its domestic virtues than in its national importance."
Like many of Jane Austen's novels, Persuasion ends with a happy marriage. Anne and Captain Wentworth renew their love for each other and announce their engagement. Wentworth, who is now significantly richer than Sir Walter, is considered worthy enough to marry Anne. The Navy has given him the freedom of making a large fortune and of moving up substantially in society. This possibility for social mobility is what the narrator refers to in the closing line of the novel as the Navy's "domestic virtue." His position in the Navy allows Captain Wentworth to be considered deserving of Anne Elliot.
However, Captain Wentworth is not the only character whose social standing has changed. The Elliot family has been humbled by Sir Walter's significant debt. Although they were once an extremely wealthy family with a country estate, the Elliots are forced to rent their house and live more modestly. Although they retain their titles and high birth, wealth is an important factor in gauging social consequence. This fact is not lost on Sir Walter.
Anne concludes that she was right to be persuaded eight years ago. This conclusion implies that she accepts a traditional interpretation of duty; she has an obligation to follow the advice of her family and form an appropriate match. For Anne, marriage is a subordination of the self to the social order. What allows Anne to marry Captain Wentworth eight years later is not that her ideas of duty have changed; it is the social order itself that is altered. The accepted social mobility of Naval officers is what allows Anne and Captain Wentworth to finally find happiness.