S. Austin Allibone, comp. Prose Quotations from Socrates to Macaulay. 1880.
Our manners, our civilization, and all the good things connected with manners, and with civilization, have, in this European world of ours, depended for ages upon two principles, I mean the spirit of a gentleman and the spirit of religion.
The true gentleman is extracted from ancient and worshipful parentage. When a pepin is planted on a pepin-stock the fruit growing thence is called a renate, a most delicious apple, as both by sire and dame well descended. Then his blood must needs be well purified who is gentilely born on both sides.
In a word, to be a fine gentleman is to be a generous and a brave man. What can make a man so much in constant good humour, and shine, as we call it, than to be supported by what can never fail him, and to believe that whatever happens to him was the best thing that possibly could befall him, or else He on whom it depends would not have permitted it to have befallen him at all?
Perhaps a gentleman is a rarer man than some of us think for. Which of us can point out many such in his circle, men whose aims are generous, whose truth is constant, and not only constant in its kind, but elevated in its degree; whose want of meanness makes them simple, who can look the world honestly in the face with an equal manly sympathy for the great and the small? We all know a hundred whose coats are very well made, and a score who have excellent manners, and one or two happy beings who are what they call in the inner circles, and have shot into the very centre and bulls-eye of fashion; but of gentlemen, how many? Let us take a little scrap of paper, and each make out his list.
What is it to be a gentleman? Is it to be honest, to be gentle, to be generous, to be brave, to be wise, and, possessing all those qualities, to exercise them in the most graceful outward manner? Ought a gentleman to be a loyal son, a true husband, an honest father? Ought his life to be decent, his bills to be paid, his tastes to be high and elegant, his aims in life lofty and noble?