7 August 2011

On being a gentleman, a cleric and a scholar.

Some recent posts have prompted the Pimpernel to reflect on the qualities of gentlemen, scholars and clergy.
A butter knife of quality,  but not something
to be used for mixing your gins and tonic. 
After all, as Sir Ian Sutherland remarked in The English Gentleman, “The first time the author of this book was conscious that there was a difference between what is classed as a gentle man and someone who is not classed as a gentleman was when a very eccentric aunt came to tea and, when the seven-year-old author-to-be helped himself to butter with his table knife, remarked acidly ‘The difference between a person who is a gentleman and one who is not is that a gentleman always uses a butter knife even when he has tea on his own.’”
The Pimpernel might observe the same of clergy: a true cleric and gentleman is one who wears a chasuble even when he celebrates Mass on holiday.
Or, for that matter cleric who is a gentleman and a scholar is one for whom the question "What is the plural of the drink made from gin and tonic?” does not arise.


  1. I beg to differ! The photograph shows a fish knife, not a butter knife. A butter knife would have a blunt end not a pointed end as shown in the photograph. I might add that an English gentleman would not be seen dead using a fish knife!!

  2. The Liturgical Pimpernel8 August 2011 at 12:10

    Sir, you may inform youself as to the photograph by scrolling down at this link:


  3. I thought if might be a lovely piece of quaint Judaica: a circumcision knife.

  4. Perhaps there is a difference between American and English butter knives.