It is almost a definition of a gentleman to say he is one who never inflicts pain. This description is both refined and, as far as it goes, accurate. He is mainly occupied in merely removing the obstacles which hinder the free and unembarassed action of those about him,and he concurs with their movements rather than takes the initiative himself.
The true gentleman in like manner carefully avoids whatever may cause ajar or a jolt in the minds of those with whom he is cast;—all clashing of opinion, or collision of feeling, all restraint,or suspicion,or gloom, or resentment; his great concern being to make every one at their ease and at home.
He has his eyes on all his company; he is tender towards the bashful,gentle towards the distant,and merciful towards the absurd; he can rocollect to whom he is speaking; he guards against unseasonable allusions, or topics which may irritate; he is seldom prominent in conversation,and never wearisome. He makes light of favours while he does them and seems to be receiving when he is conferring.
He never speaks of himself except when compelled,never defends himself by a mere retort,he has no ears for slander or gossip,is crupulous in imputing motives to those who interfere with him,and interprets everything for the best.
He is never mean or little in his disputes,never takes unfair advantage,never mistakes personalities or sharp saying for arguments,or insinuates evil which he dare not
say out.From a long-sighted prudence,he ovserves the maxim of the ancient sage,that we should ever conduct ourselves towards our enemy as if he were one day to be our friend.
He has too much good sense to be affronted at insults,he is too well employed to remember injuries,and too indolent to bear malice. He is patient,forbearing, and resigned,on principles,he submits to pain,because it is inevitable,to bereavement,because it is irreparable,and to death,because it is destiny. If he engages in controversy of any kind, his disciplined intellect preserves him from the blunder.