Among the gentry of the province Nicholas was respected but not liked.
The Polish nobles, gentry and Church - the educated classes generally - were crushed.
That coat-armour has been lavishly granted and often assumed without right, that the word "gentleman" has acquired various secondary senses, proves nothing; that is the natural result of a state of things in which the status of gentry carries with it no legal advantage, and yet is eagerly sought after on social grounds.
In England indeed a variety of causes hindered nobility or gentry from ever obtaining the importance which they obtained, for instance, in France.
The peer - in strictness, the peer in his own person only, not even his children - became the only noble; the ideas of nobility and gentry thus became divorced in a way in which they are not in any other country.