How easy it is to miss social context in old novels. I ran recently into Lord Henry's comment in the 1890 The Picture of Dorian Gray:
With an evening coat and a white tie, as you told me once, anybody, even a stock-broker, can gain a reputation for being civilized.
The straightforward reading of this is that it's a sneer from the moneyed classes at those who have to make money by hands-on financial wheeling and dealing. However, it turns out to be deeper than that: there was good reason to consider 19th century stockbrokers uncivilised. There's an interesting passage in Joseph Kenny Meadows' 1841 Heads of the people: or, Portraits of the English, revealing how the Stock Exchange, open only to members, had a short way with strangers.
Should any one be curious enough to wish to see either these Bulls or these Bears, let him by no means enter their den in Capel Court, Bartholomew Lane. Lack of sedentary employment renders them sportive and frolicsome, and the prevailing humour pervades both old and young. They are all wags of the first water — practical Joe Millers. If kicking a stranger's hat about the Exchange were pleasant badinage, or unceremoniously shouldering the intruder, were agreeable banter, they night pass for wits. As it is, they are great in physical repartee; full of animal spirits — manual Sheridans.
- Heads of the people: or, Portraits of the English, Joseph Kenny Meadows, Carey & Hart, 1841
"Work hard and play hard" applied even then, clearly.