Georgiana Gray was the lovely object of the rivalry of the above candidates; and a damsel more eminently qualified to be the innocent cause of contention could not be found within the whole catalogue of those dear destructive little creatures who, from Eve downwards, have always possessed a peculiar patent for mischief-making. Georgiana was as handsome as she was rich. She was, in the superlative sense of the word, a beauty, and—what ought to be written in letters of gold—an heiress. She had the figure of a sylph, and the purse of a nabob. Her face was lovely and animated enough to enrapture a Raffaelle, and her fortune ample enough to captivate a Rothschild. She had a clear rent-roll of 20,000l. per annum,—and a pair of eyes that, independent of her other attractions, were sufficiently fascinating to seduce Diogenes himself into matrimony.
Philosophers generally affirm that the only substance capable of producing a magnetic effect is steel; but had they been witnesses of the great attraction that the fortune of our fair heroine had for its many eager pursuers, they would doubtless have agreed with us that the metal possessing the greatest possible power of magnetism is decidedly—gold. Innumerable were the butterflies that were drawn towards the lustre of the lovely Georgiana’s money; and many a suitor, who set a high value upon his personal qualifications, might be found at her side endeavouring to persuade its pretty possessor of the eligible investment that might be made of the property in himself. Report, however, had invidiously declared that Georgiana looked with a cold and contemptuous eye upon the addresses of all save two.
Augustus Peacock and Julius Candy (this enviable duo) were two such young men as may be met with in herds any fine afternoon publishing their persons to the frequenters of Regent-street. They did credit to their tailors, who were liberal enough to give them credit in return. Their coats were guiltless of a wrinkle, their gloves immaculate in their chastity, and their boots resplendent in their brilliancy. Indeed they were human annuals—splendidly bound, handsomely embellished—but replete with nothing but fashionable frivolities. They never ventured out till such time as they imagined the streets were well-aired, and were never known to indulge in an Havannah till twelve o’clock P.M. They were scrupulous in their attentions to the Opera and the figurantes, and had no objection to wear the chains of matrimony provided the links were made of gold. In fine, they were of that common genus of gentlemen who lounge through life, and leave nothing behind them but a tombstone and a small six-shilling advertisement amongst the Deaths of some morning newspaper as a record of their having existed.