Lady Caroline Lamb’s whole disgraceful truth… Part thirteen ~ The honeymoon period of marriage

CarolinelambLast week I told you all about Lady Caroline Lamb’s marriage,which I thought was just such a wonderful real Regency story and then from now on, we will follow Caroline from the honeymoon period into the confused mess which ended up with her caught up in the heart of some of the most talked about scandals in history.

But before I begin this week’s little tale, here is the back ground to this series of posts for anyone joining my blog today, but for everyone following, as always, just skip to the end of the italics where I have marked the type in bold.

I was drawn to Lady Caroline Lamb, who lived in the Regency era, because Harriette Wilson the courtesan who wrote her memoirs in 1825, mentions the Ponsonby and the Lamb family frequently. Also the story of Caroline’s affair with Lord Byron captured my imagination. Caroline was also a writer, she wrote poems, and novels in her later life. I have read Glenarvon.

Her life story and her letters sucked me further into the reality of the Regency world which is rarely found in modern-day books. Jane Austen wrote fictional, ‘country’ life as she called it, and I want to write fictional ‘Regency’ life rather than simply romance. But what I love when I discover gems in my research like Caroline’s story is sharing the real story behind my fiction here too.

Lady Caroline Lamb was born Caroline Ponsonby, on the 13th November 1785. She was the daughter of Frederick Ponsonby, Viscount Duncannon, and Henrietta (known as Harriet), the sister of the infamous Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire.

Caroline became an official lady when her grandfather died, and her father became Earl of Bessborough earning her the honorific title ‘Lady’ and she grew up in a world of luxury, even Marie Antoinette was a family friend. Caroline was always renowned as being lively, and now it is suspected she had a condition called bipolar. As a child she earned herself a title as a ‘brat’, by such things as telling her aunt Georgiana that Edward Gibbon’s (the author of The Decline and fall of the Roman Empire) face was ‘so ugly it had frightened her puppy’.

And when she grew up Byron once described Caroline as “the cleverest most agreeable, absurd, amiable, perplexing, dangerous fascinating little being that lives now or ought to have lived 2000 years ago.”

Caro and William spent their honeymoon at his family home in the country, Brocket Hall (I just looked that up on-line, sadly now it’s a golf club, looks very nice though). Two days after her marriage Caro wrote to her mother asking for her to send a book on education and the twenty-four volume Histoire Ancienne… – William was very educated, very intelligent, and a man who loved to debate, and Caro was strong-willed,independent, probably equally intelligent, certainly very clever with words, and came from a family where the women were highly respected – equal to their men, and yet she had not been widely educated in the same areas as William, although she spoke several languages. I guess, though, if the man she loved was in a debating mood, she wished to be able to play an equal part… Her mother teased her when she wrote back…”that dear, beautiful, light amusing book.” “Could you not contrive a little rolling booke case you might draw after you, containing these precious volumes,” for Caro to pull about with her perhaps to look up things to debate with William 😉 . (Note the letter quotations are the original Georgian spelling! Just as they wanted to write it).

Four days after she was wed though Caro called for her mother to come and keep her company as she felt unwell, having lost her ‘innocence’, and knowing the Lamb’s I think William would have taken it liberally, her mother wrote to her lover, “I do think it very hard that men should always have the beau jeu (beautiful game/fine game) on all occasions, and that all the pain, Morel et Physique (moral and physical) should be reserv’d for us.”

When her mother left Caro there were more visitors at Brocket Hall, her grandmother, and her uncles. Her grandmother records Caroline’s restlessness as she ‘threw’ herself into one chair, then rose and sat in another, and another. In the end her grandmother took her out for a carriage ride. (I suppose her restlessness may indicate bipolar, which is what people now believe Caroline suffered with).

Many of her family commented on their lack of belief that little frail looking Caro would be fit for the role and responsibility of a wife, she was frequently described as fairy like, which I think was half due to her appearance and half due her flighty nature.

William in later life when he became Earl of Melbourne

William in later life when he became Earl of Melbourne

Two weeks after her marriage Caroline wrote to her cousin, still perhaps a little unsure of her married state… “You told me the happiest time in your life was three weeks after being married. I am not quite arrived at that period but am much contented with my present state and yet I cannot say I have never felt happier..” She goes on then to contrast her present with her romantic love of William much earlier in their courting, when they only had snatched moments, and says they were perhaps happier because there was an anticipation and the fear of loss… But then she tells her cousin how they passed their honeymoon. “he is kinder more delightful & more attentive than even I expected. he reads to me sometimes from nine until two – walks and stays with me all day& I have found not one single moment hang heavily with me since I have been here.” she describes her self as “a soul just arrived in paradise,” unaccustomed to love and life.

Then three weeks after her wedding she wrote to her cousin Hartingdon in the role of the Fairy Queen Titania, Hart still felt jilted by her because she’d chosen another man, he never did marry. “The wand was broke her elves dismiss’d, The Deamons yell’d – the serpents hist, The skies were black the thunder round, When sad Titania left her lord” “Oberon a long adieu, and with him all his fairy crew” “Thus spoke Titania then she sigh’d, Doomed to become a Mortals bride.” 

After the honeymoon the couple moved to what would be their home, in London. William was still on a restrained income, his ‘father’ who was not really his father as William was illegitimate – the product of an affair, short or long – and so because his father begrudged William now being heir, they did not have enough income to rent their own property let alone buy one, and so they moved into his parents’ home in London. His mother, who did not particularly like Caroline, did however generously move from her apartment on the top floor to the ground floor rooms, which gave Caro and William an apartment with a wonderful view of St James Park.

Then the Earl, probably to avoid embarrassment, after all, to the world, William was his legitimate heir, and so he allowed Caro, pin money of £400 a year. Their apartment did have a separate entrance from the street and so at least they could live there entirely independently if they wished… But families were families even then… and mothers were mothers – and mother-in-laws -and indeed brother-in-laws.

Caroline was a little shocked by the Lambs (Melbournes, which was the name of the title) way of life, it made such an impression on her she borrowed the families way of living and used it in her novel Glenarvon, renaming the family Montieth. Her family was of the highest rank of society, and they obeyed all etiquette, with high moral’s applying the perfect Regency facade of all appearing to be of the highest moral standard. Of course we know what was going on out of sight, but Caro was not told about any of the out of sight things, she had been kept blinkered by her family as much as possible, and so to walk into the life of the Lambs…

Dive back to my tales from the memoirs of the courtesan Harriette Wilson and you will hear her tell some of the most astonishing stories of the Lamb brothers atrocious behaviour. I would suspect she could have told some of William too, but I would make a guess he may have bought himself out of her memoirs. But she wrote about the Lamb’s. One of them stole her away from her first real protector, and his father encouraged him, while she was still living with Lord Craven, to make use of a friend’s convenience. In other words sleep with his mistress for free. Then when he did win her, because Craven threw her out, because the boy had been around there so much, he kept her for months and gave her nothing to live on. Then at another point when they were older he tried to strangle her. Harriette told us another of William’s brothers fell asleep in her sister’s bedchamber in the middle of a party because he was so drunk,and then woke up while she was using the chamber pot and walked out laughing… So that gives you a measure of the family Caroline had married into. They really did not care what anyone thought of their behaviour, they behaved how they wished.

Their habits were described as informal and irreverent. Caroline drew sketches of William and his brothers in ‘family attitude.’ Which meant they sprawled in the chairs in the drawing room, legs thrown over an arm of a chair, or lying on a couch with a leg dangling over the back. They were described as a close-knit group of practical jokers, hard-headed and unsentimental. William’s brothers treated Caroline as William’s hobby, and laughed at the fact that she wished to educate herself…

It sounds, from the very beginning, like this is a situation that could explode… boy did it explode… but we will take it one step at a time. More next week… 😀

And if you would like to read my historical romance story that was inspired by Caroline’s life… it’s just coming up for pre-order The Dangerous Love of a Rogue, will be out in ebook in January and can be pre-ordered for Paperback release in March.

But if you can’t wait for Regency stories, then grab one of my books many of them are currently on offer in the UK from 69p and in the USA from $1.99 and there are couple of little extras for free… 


Go to the index


  • the story of the real courtesan who inspired                                                 The Illicit Love of a Courtesan,

Jane Lark is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult Romance stories, and the author of a No.1 bestselling Historical Romance novel in America, ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’.

Click here to find out more about Jane’s books, and see Jane’s website to learn more about Jane. Or click  ‘like’ on Jane’s Facebook  page to see photo’s and learn historical facts from the Georgian, Regency and Victorian eras, which Jane publishes there. You can also follow Jane on twitter at @janelark

Jane’s books can be ordered from amazon by clicking on the covers in the sidebar,  and are available from most booksellers.

Reckless in Innocence ~ A #Free Historical Romance story ~ Part Nine

Reckless in Innocence

for my Historical Romance readers

© Jane Lark

Publishing rights belong to Jane Lark, this should not be recreated in any form without prior consent from Jane Lark

Reckless in Innocence

Reckless in Innocence


Read the earlier parts one , two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight


Part Nine



Pursing her lips in preparation for battle, Elizabeth cursed her heart for its weakness as she felt the quickening of its beat. She had seen him from the moment he’d entered the room, and watched him approach with a face that looked like a thunder-cloud. Immediately she had known the swell of satisfaction twofold, that she had finally touched his raw nerve and chased him from hiding, and equally the sheer pleasure of the sight of him. Yet when she had imagined this moment she had never expected him to manhandle her across the floor.

“I do not believe that you asked for my permission before you so crudely dragged me aside, Your Grace, and I can see that Lord Percy has now arrived with my lemonade. If you have had your fun, perhaps you would let me go?”

“Are you leading Percy on, as you led me? Do you realize how dangerous that man can be? Have you learned nothing?” His voice was a rough whisper in her ear.

Reaching his destination, away from prying ears, Elizabeth swiftly turned to face him, pulling her arm from his grip, but she was not given the option of responding.

“You are flirting outrageously, Elizabeth, and it has not gone unnoticed.” His fingers folded into fists at his side as he glowered at her. She had rarely seen Marcus do anything but smile before and the sight of his anger was exceptionally diverting, a hint that he was not as immune to her as he had wanted her to believe.

Biting back a smile, she responded. “I would be grateful if you do not refer to me with such familiarity, Your Grace. I must be getting back to my friends.” Elizabeth turned from him then.

It had been a month, in which she had not seen anything of the infamous Duke of Tay. He had become quite the recluse from what she had heard and completely insignificant within the ton’s gossip… Perhaps he was jealous of her new-found notoriety?

“This is not the same game. Do you understand, Elizabeth? This is not the same game at all. Damn it they are betting on who will take your virginity at White’s.” His harsh words were thrown at her in a loud whisper as she stepped away.

She stopped, turning her head just slightly back to speak.


He moved so  he received the full and powerful effect of those amazing turquoise eyes, and felt himself turning to a pillar of salt. Her gaze was acid; it could strip flesh from bone. This was not the mild-mannered debutante whom he had found and cherished until she’d flourished. This was not the same woman at all.

“You were not so concerned, Your Grace, when the gossip involved you. Perhaps you should claim your prize.” With a swish of sheer, white muslin she left him where he stood.

Heavens, she was wearing the bloody dress she had worn that night. Anger rose and sizzled inside him as he turned his back and sought a drink. He had been hearing her name over and over for weeks at White’s, and in the card rooms of the demimonde. Everyone had something to say about the poorly chaperoned debutante who behaved like an artisan. Some people blamed her parents, some blamed the child and others, like Lord Percy, just took advantage. As you did, his conscience yelled. He should never have agreed to go to that bloody conservatory.

He’d had enough.

He had come here only to find her and put an end to the course of self-destruction she had set out upon, certain that the sole responsibility for her reckless behaviour laid at his door.

But this woman was not the girl that he had found hiding behind the potted palms. This woman oozed with self-confidence, and if he had found her attractive before, she was now incredible beyond belief.

No wonder everyone was speaking of her.

He leant his shoulder against a pillar and sipped a glass of champagne he’d snatched from a passing tray. She was striking. Every woman in the room must be jealous, and every man in the room must want her. He wanted her. His thoughts were so wicked it even occurred to him to pull her aside and find a room where he could seduce her all over again. He knew he could persuade her. With a few kisses he could have her begging for him to make love to her, as she had done before. Touch me. The soft words sounded in his head. God help him, he did not really regret that night, only that she’d been an innocent, but his conscience would never let him voice it, and never let him repeat it. He had promised her nothing; would promise her nothing. He had no right to touch her and no right to tell her what to do. He set the empty glass on to another passing tray and left. What she did was her choice not his…


More to come…

Jane Lark Sale Use


If you cannot wait until next week for more of Jane Lark’s writing there’s plenty to read right now 😀

and until October the 27th many of the books are on sale in the UK and the USA from $1.99 and 69p

To read the Marlow Intrigues series, you can start anywhere, but this is the actual order

The Lost Love of Soldier ~ The Prequel

#1 The Illicit Love of a Courtesan

#1.5 Capturing The Love of an Earl ~ This Free Novella

#2 The Passionate Love of a Rake

#2.5 The Desperate Love of a Lord ~ A second Free Novella

#3 The Scandalous Love of a Lord

Jane’s books can be ordered from most booksellers in paperback

and, yes, there are more to come  🙂 soon…


Go to the index


  • the story of the real courtesan who inspired                                                 The Illicit Love of a Courtesan,
  • another free short story, about characters from book #2,                              A Lord’s Scandalous Love,
  • the prequel excerpts for book #3                                                                   The Scandalous Love of a Duke

Jane Lark is a writer of authentic, passionate and emotional Historical and New Adult Romance stories, and the author of a No.1 bestselling Historical Romance novel in America, ‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’.

Click here to find out more about Jane’s books, and see Jane’s website to learn more about Jane. Or click  ‘like’ on Jane’s Facebook  page to see photo’s and learn historical facts from the Georgian, Regency and Victorian eras, which Jane publishes there. You can also follow Jane on twitter at @janelark