Gentleness is indeed the best test of gentlemanliness. A consideration for the feelings of others, for his inferiors and dependants, as well as his equals, and respect for their self-respect, will pervade the true gentleman's whole conduct. He will rather himself suffer a small injury, than by an uncharitable construction of another's behavior, incur the risk of committing a great wrong. He will be forbearant of the weaknesses, the failings, and the errors, of those whose advantages in life have not been equal to his own. He will be merciful even to his beast. He will not boast of his wealth, or his strength, or his gifts. He will not be puffed up by success, or unduly depressed by failure. He will not obtrude his view on others, but speak his mind freely when occasion calls for it. He will not confer favours with a patronizing air.
-Samuel Smiles, Self help; with illustrations of conduct and perseverance