The Dashing Duchess,—the impulsive, ebullient beauty whose smile swayed ministers, and for whose favor princes were beggars! A loveliness of manner, as of feature, such seductive color,—glowing carnations,—and such golden-brown hair, with a fine figure, made up an opulent personality, than which no more consummate type of beauty has been preserved to us by painter or poet.
Georgiana Spencer was the daughter of Lord Spencer, afterwards first Earl Spencer; but her impulsiveness, her waywardness, and improvidence were a legacy from her grandfather, “Jack” Spencer, the grandson and special favorite of the beautiful Sarah, Duchess of Marlborough. Her “Torismond,” she called him. His was a career of profligacy, a course of error and extravagance. His mother was Lady Sunderland, known in society as “the little Whig,” from her small stature and her persistent politics. Her party badge was always worn,—the black patch on the left side of the face, as distinguished from the Tory fashion of wearing it on the right side. So Georgiana came legitimately by her beauty, her Whiggish politics, and her versatile vivacity of manner, as well as her improvidence and indiscretion.