From a case presented before the United States Supreme Court, we see the Code of Honor of VMI – the Virginia Military Institute. It would be hard to come up with a better guide for being a Gentleman.
UNITED STATES v. VIRGINIA et al., ___ U.S. ___ (1996)
UNITED STATES v. VIRGINIA et al.
Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Argued January 17, 1996
Decided June 26, 1996 *
“Without a strict observance of the fundamental Code of Honor, no man, no matter how `polished,’ can be considered a gentleman. The honor of a gentleman demands the inviolability of his word, and the incorruptibility of his principles. He is the descendant of the knight, the crusader; he is the defender of the defenseless and the champion of justice . . . or he is not a Gentleman.
A Gentleman . . .
Does not discuss his family affairs in public or with acquaintances.
Does not speak more than casually about his girl friend.
Does not go to a lady’s house if he is affected by alcohol. He is temperate in the use of alcohol.
Does not lose his temper; nor exhibit anger, fear, hate, embarrassment, ardor or hilarity in public.
Does not hail a lady from a club window.
A gentleman never discusses the merits or demerits of a lady.
Does not mention names exactly as he avoids the mention of what things cost.
Does not borrow money from a friend, except in dire need. Money borrowed is a debt of honor, and must be repaid as promptly as possible. Debts incurred by a deceased parent, brother, sister or grown child are assumed by honorable men as a debt of honor.
Does not display his wealth, money or possessions.
Does not put his manners on and off, whether in the club or in a ballroom. He treats people with courtesy, no matter what their social position may be.
Does not slap strangers on the back nor so much as lay a finger on a lady.
Does not `lick the boots of those above’ nor `kick the face of those below him on the social ladder.’
Does not take advantage of another’s helplessness or ignorance and assumes that no gentleman will take advantage of him.
A Gentleman respects the reserves of others, but demands that others respect those which are his.
A Gentleman can become what he wills to be. . .”