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- "Can't even shout.
Can't even cry.
The Gentlemen are coming by.
Looking in windows,
knocking on doors...
They need to take seven
and they might take yours...
Can't call to mom.
Can't say a word.
You're gonna die screaming
but you won't be heard."
- ―Girl in Buffy's dream[src]
The Gentlemen were a group of demons said to originate from fairytales. They roamed from town to town, seeking out seven human hearts they required to stay alive. They were served by a group of demonic footmen dressed in straight jackets who did all the fighting and muscle-work for them.
The Gentlemen were bald, pale humanoids that never spoke but were always grinning maliciously through metallic teeth. They wore black suits and carried satchels with scalpels in them with which to remove the hearts they required. They did not walk, but instead hovered about a foot above the ground, standing perfectly straight. True to their name, they tended to gesture to each other politely, kindly passing the scalpel during a heart extraction and applauding another Gentleman each time they added a heart to the collection.
In a folk tale Giles had a copy of, the Gentlemen stole the voices of a kingdom before the princess screamed, causing them to die. In 1999, a group of Gentlemen came to Sunnydale where they managed to collect five hearts before they were defeated by the Slayer, Buffy Summers, with help from Initiative soldier Riley Finn.
The Gentlemen were able to hover above the ground instead of walking. They were also invulnerable to harm, such as swords and other weapons along with electricity. However they had one fatal weakness: the sound of a human voice, specifically a human scream. As a way of avoiding this danger, they stole the voices of every inhabitant upon arrival in a new town through a magical box. This forced silence had the added benefit that none of their victims were able to scream for help as the Gentlemen cut their hearts from their still-living bodies.