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[PUBLISHED BY SPECXAI. ABBAS…

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AGRICULTURE.I

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FRODSHAM. I

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FLINTSHIRE STANDING JOINT…

IA YOUNG* WIFE'S DILEMMA.…

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WHAT IS A "GENTLEMAN?" I

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WHAT IS A "GENTLEMAN?" I MR. R. ST. J. CORBET'S OPINION. I The difficult question "What is a gentle- man P" has been exercising the correspondents of the Spectator." The latest is this effusion from Mr. R. St. J. Corbet:- Surely there can be but one definition P A. I gentleman' is a man of gentle birth, a member of the gentry, a member of a family I untainted by trade' (as the expression went) for three generations. I think it was Sir Walter Scott who said that three generations are sometimes insufficient' to breed out trade,' and that five should be substituted. No Psalm or sentiment can make a man a I gentleman' any more than Psalm or sentiment can make a man an Admiral or an Attorney-General. A nobleman' is not so called, or entitled to be so called, because he is a man of noble bearing, or noble acts, or noble thoughts; he must be a member of the nobility or he cannot be a nobleman.' In the same way a man cannot be a gentleman' unless he satisfies what is meant by gentle.' During the last quarter of the nineteenth century everybody's desire was to be a' gentle- man and to be addressed esquire,' yet not one probably out of five hundred aspirants had a right to be either one or the other. Nobody wished to be considered a judge or an architect, or to be addressed as Baronet or F.B.S., yet it was a general aspiration to bear other styles, and without the smallest justification. You are not a gentleman' because you wear a clean collar and pay your bills, and you are not an esquire' because you do not dig potatoes or drive an engine; definitions are definitions, and even David and all his Psalms cannot twist them to mean what they do not mean. In America I understand that 'Judges' and Colonels' are numerous; at this nonsense we smile, but are we much better ourselves ? Our gentlemen' and esquires' are probably far mere numerous." This letter has roused the usually phlegmatic editor of the "Spectator" to the following note:—" We publish our correspondent's letter because we desire to express our absolute and total dissent from the pernicious view it sup- ports. The whole of our social and political history is a protest against his attitude on the subject. Mr. Corbet is, of course, perfectly right as to the derivation of the word (every schoolboy knows that' gens' means class' or race'), but it is the glory of the English nation that derivatives of this word soon altered their meaning here and gave us the significance of 'gentle'—the very antithesis of all that is associated with pride of race and arrogance of blood. We have often thought that the history of the meaning of the word gentleman shews in epitome our happy social evolution-an evolution which preserved us from the degrada- tion and danger of a noble caste. The French preserved the true' meaning of the word gentil homme,' and its preservation may in a sense be said to have produced the Revolution. How we steadily gave up the narrow use of the words gentleman' and gentle' is seen throughout our literature. When Chaucer talked of a very perfect gentle knight' (we modernise the spelling) he did not mean, as the context shews, that the knight was of high lineage, but that he was courteous and kindly and without a proud and overbear- ing spirit. When Shakespeare uses the word gentleman' we see again how the idea of race an blood is failing. Dekker clearly bad no thought of the derivation when he called our Lord the first true gentleman that ever breathed.' Cromwell uses the word almost in the modern sense. In our later history it has been a commonplace that the word gentleman' is not reserved in England for men of birth, but for men of conduct and good-breeding. It is true that George IV. said of Sir Robert Peel, He is no gentleman; he divides his coat tails when he sits down,' but no reasonable person ever seriously says that Peel was not a gentle- man merely because of his origin from a trading family."

-I BANK MEETINGS.

COJSNAH'S QUAY.-I

THE WIRRAL TRAGEDY.f

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