"GENTLEMEN ALL" is the story of the futile attempts of an ambitious young Southern gentleman, seh, to escape from the pleasant, shiftless life of mint juleps, old nigger retainers, horses, duels, and all the other romantic and lazy trappings that are said to obtain south of the Mason Dixon line.
Mr. Fitzgerald, who studied, I believe, at Harvard less than ten years ago, has dedicated his book to Charles Townsend Copeland. "Gentlemen All", it might as well be said at the outset, is probably not the best book that has been dedicated to the professor of Hollis Hall.
The hero, Colfax Pendleton, sets out to become a great lawyer, and appears to be in a fair way of realizing his ambition if he can definitely sever his ties to his old home town in Virginia. However, instead of marrying a wealthy tradesman's daughter in Baltimore, he gets attached to a placid, contented, and very beautiful young lady from home.
For the rest of the book, Colfax is struggling to take his wife away from the easy, if empty life of their parents and their friends. His wife is perfectly satisfied where she is, and has all the non-aggressive, but immovable resistance of the Plymouth Rock. Her beauty and her passive strength are more than a match for her husband's ambition, and Colfax settles down protestingly to a discontented life.
In its way, "Gentleman All' is fairly well written. Too much of the dullness of the Southern life has perhaps crept in without bringing with it enough of the charm that commonly attributed to the Bourbon whiskey and the ladies of the South. Joseph Hergesheimer once wrote a book called "Balisand" which pictured a society very similar to Mr. Fitzgerald's, "Balisand" will never be mistaken for the great American novel, yet it is a better book than "Gentlemen All".