Lady Caroline Lamb’s whole disgraceful truth… Part twelve ~ Married into a love match!

CarolinelambThe last time I wrote about Caro, it was to tell you about William Lamb’s proposal, in the middle of a mourning period for his brother at the moment he became heir to his father.

The wonderful thing is that unlike the majority of Caro’s and William’s family, they were in love. His proposal letter made his feelings very clear to Caroline, and many years later William is recorded as telling none other than Queen Victoria that “I do believe if I had been refused, I should have died of it; it would have killed me...”

Likewise Lady Caroline’s family recorded how smitten Caroline was and how torn they were. Lady Bessborough, Caro’s mother, Harriet, saw William as hedonistic, (as if she could talk) but he promised to reform and abide by the will of his potential future mother-in-law. Harriet consulted her sister Georgiana, who described in a letter to Lady Spencer, their mother, how upset Harriet was over Caroline’s choice… and yet Caroline was adamant that she loved William Lamb… “such evidence of the most boundless attachment, that I really believe-so does the Duke, that any check would be productive of madness or death…”

So William and Caro were equally obsessed, and madly in love….

But before I go on, for people new to my blog, here is a little background to this series of posts, and for my followers, just skip to the end of the italics where I have, as usual, marked it 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.”

When Caro and William obtained the final agreement, there is another little true life tale which is a brilliant story to reflect on when I write. Instead of encouraging William to come to the Bessborough’s house to press his suit, Caro asked him to meet her and her family at a performance of Hamlet in Drury Lane. A visit to the Theatre then was not as it is now, and I have written about that before, people met friends there and talked through entire performances, so this is not an odd request from Caro. William would have probably knocked on the door of her family’s Theatre box, and from the descriptions, I imagine him sitting next to Lady Bessborough,who was the one to be persuaded, whispering about his affection for Caro, and making promises of faithfulness, and promising he had the funds to keep her well. His conversation and manner were described as “warm and animated.” You can imagine him using hand gestures and leaning forward expressing his commitment and strength of feeling, and his eyes and his tone of voice probably showed the level of his affection for Caro.

Harriet felt pressured to say yes, and yet the final thing that clinched it was that Caro and William had chosen a public place for what was obviously a very personal and very emotional conversation to any onlooker, and with Lady Bessboroughs, and the Duchess of Devonshire’s reputations for infidelity, and the Lambs reputations for rakishness, it was assumed by some that Caro and William were in the middle of an affair… and so Harriet immediately declared that they were engaged…

That night when Harriet and Georgiana returned to the Devonshire’s town house, they shared Caroline’s news with the Marquess of Hartingdon, ‘Hart’, Georgiana’s only son, who had always believed he would marry Caroline, he was so distressed that she’d  chosen someone else he had to be sedated.

The next morning William arrived at Cavendish Square, sure of his success and the family’s agreement, and made his formal request to Lord Bessborough – see again – so much in Romance novel’s is not written as it is in true life  – most of us have the call on the father coming first… This is why I love researching through letters and memoirs, you obtain such a rich, real perspective, and you will see this slipping into my books more and more. Caro’s and William’s life has loads of influence on my next historical, but back to Caro.

Her mother’s, her aunt’s,  The Duke of Devonshire, and her father’s consent achieved, there was one more person to persuade, ‘I listen for the postman’s knock (who knew the postman knocked in the 1800s 😉 ) with cold hands, and indescribable anxiety. Your peace of mind is I know so connected with yr. dear gdmama’s happiness‘ (that is his abbreviations not mine, the Victorian’s introduced absolute adherence to consistent grammar and spelling 😉 ) The Georgriana’s wrote as they wished – love those people – so much simpler for those of us with dyslexia.

But anyway, of course Caro wished for Lady Spencer’s approval, she had brought Caro up as much as her mother, and Caro was very fond of her.

Clearly William had written and was awaiting an answer, but the family came to Caro’s and William’s assistance. Caro’s brother John (the John who later was the man Harriett Wilson the courtesan fell in love with – society was really not that large), Caro’s uncle Lord Spencer, and Lord Morpeth (Little G’s new husband) all called to add their voice to praise William as Caro’s choice. “The are all wonderfully afraid of my sentiments.” recorded Lady Spencer, describing this barrage of persuasion to a friend.

Finally Caroline visited herself, with a now resigned Hart. “The Dr child was on her knees the tears streaming from her eyes & repeating that she wd not marry without my consent.”

Her grandmother was not convinced, and said she would not approve the match, and challenged the requirement for her consent, saying it was hardly necessary anyway as it was settled.

Caro then read her a letter from William, promising to devote his life to making Caro happy. Lady Spencer conceded only to accept the marriage, and only to accept William once he had proved his affection for Caro.

The Queen and the Prince of Wales approval was given then, and then the special licence was acquired from Archbishop of Canterbury and as all the preparations rushed forward, for fear of another war with France, Caro stayed with her mother at Holywell House, while William lived at Brocket Hall and road the half hour between the two daily to visit Caro.

The night before the wedding the Devonshire’s held a party honouring Caroline, and she received gifts from her family, a burnt-topaz cross from Harryo, bracelets from Hartington, a pearl cross from her Uncle’s paramour, Bess, and Little G (now nine months pregnant) gave Caro an aquamarine clasp  and some wrought gold amulets and cameos… While William took an opportunity to give her grandmother a portrait of Caro to dig a little into her affections, which earned him some credit.

Then it was the day of the wedding. They were married in the Bessborough’s residence, No. 12 Cavendish Square, on the 3rd of June 1805, and Caro’s wedding dress was beautifully described by her aunt Georgiana. It had fine lace sleeves, and lace high-up around her neck, giving it an Eastern appearance. She wore one strand of pearls, and under her veil the aquamarine clasp that Little G had given her at the party. Caro is described as looking ‘light and beautifull’ as she walked steadily to join William, and exchanged her vows without hesitation. (A scene directly from a romance novel, but TRUE, how wonderful).

But after the wedding the emotion of the day became too much for Caroline. She loved her family just as much as she loved William, and then to add a beautifully romantic real scene to the end of today’s post, how did William react when the day became too much for her – he is described as walking through the noisy crowd surrounding her and simply picking her up. Then he carried his prize, his petite little Caro whom he loved, and had waited to claim for four years, out to their waiting carriage…

😀  ❤

And so next week the stories of their married life begin…

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 Eight

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


Part Eight


Elizabeth bent to look at herself in the mirror then dropped down on to the small stool in front of her dressing table. She looked hideous. She had dark crescents beneath her eyes. No wonder he did not really like her. She picked up her hairbrush and began to run it through her fine hair until it crackled with static and clung against her damp cheeks, where tears silently drew their damp path.

When he had spoken to her in the gambling club he’d not even shown any sign that he had lain with another woman hours after he’d made love to her. He had no conscience. He had no heart. beneath the face he had shown her these last weeks, he was callous and cold.

How could she love a man like that? Her head was convinced she should not, that she could not, but her heart… and now her body, oh they were much harder to convince.

She had known it even before she’d foolishly begged him to touch her.

Of course, plain Elizabeth Derwent was of no real interest to him. She had only ever been a diversion; that was all, a pleasant diversion.

But it still hurt to know he had not even appreciated the gift she’d given. Had she been that inept?

“What occurred between us should not have happened.”  She hated him for saying that.

But she had expected nothing more, so why did it hurt so much that he had shunned her?

He must think her a silly girl.

Yet she was nineteen… twenty years, in six months time. She was not young any more. She dabbed the linen sleeve of her nightgown against her cheeks. She was too old for tears. It was time she gave up self-pity. Time she showed Marcus Campbell that she did not care what he thought. Time she proved that the world did not revolve around that splendid physique and charming smile.

The new Elizabeth, the no longer innocent and foolish, Elizabeth, would control her own life, and if Marcus could use women as he wished, then surely she could use men. She would show the Duke of Tay how little she needed him.

Chapter Three



“Miss Elizabeth Derwent was stunning last night, did you see her?”

“Did you hear that she allowed Peter Weston to walk her about the garden alone? They were gone a while. Their absence was noted by the entire gathering.”

“I have never seen a woman with such a flawless complexion.”

“Quite a diamond is Miss Derwent.”

“Quite a diamond and utterly reckless.”

Marcus leaned forward in his seat at White’s, beckoning for a refill of port. He could not help but tune his ears to the conversation beside him no matter how he tried to focus his thoughts on the newspaper in his hands.

In the month since he had laid down his intentions to Elizabeth, or rather lack of them, he’d heard her name time and again.

He had virtually become a recluse to society. It had even occurred to him, he could hide by occupying his seat in the House of Lords, God forbid, he had never sat in it and he never intended to. So his sole entertainment was his own company at White’s, and as now, there was no safe haven. He was subjected to constant descriptions of the woman. It appeared that Elizabeth was not a woman to pine. Instead, she had set the London season into a whirlwind of gossip and expectation. Every single man with hot blood seemed in a frenzy for her.

“Of the first water; a heavenly combination.” One of the men chimed.

Marcus read another headline.

“You have obviously not heard the latest gossip on the subject of Miss Derwent though?” The others had clearly not because no one replied.

Marcus’s eyes followed the article he tried to read, as he reached to take the replenished glass of port, then brought it to his lips to sip the rich liquid.

“Lord Percy has opened a bet in the book. He has put his name down to take Elizabeth Derwent as a lover before the season is out. He has given himself odds on his ability to break in the young virgin and challenged any man to race him to her bed.”

Marcus had to swallow hard to prevent himself from spitting the liquid from his mouth, coughing several times before he could draw breath. My God, he should have warned her about Percy, but the man had never been a threat when her eyes had always turned to him instead. Folding the paper, he threw it upon a table at his side. Now of course, without his company, it was obvious she would accept the court of Percy.

Anger washed through him like a high tide. He would kill the man, and if he had touched her… Damn it, if any man touched her, he would have them strung up by the neck. He could not just sit by and allow Elizabeth to ruin herself. He may not want her for himself but he would not allow her to throw herself away on any scoundrel. She deserved better than Percy.

Thus that evening he found himself out of hiding and on the hunt for her again. He found her after calling in to three separate affairs. She was among a crowd of men, three deep.

Longing, desire, regret, anger and envy all warred for a piece of him.

“Miss Derwent!” he barked from the edge of her court, knowing damn well that she knew he was there and ignored him. “A moment.”

“Why, Your Grace…” Her eyes turned to him with a mocking expression, her tone holding a mocking note. The cluster of men about her looked at him. “…I am sorry. I cannot say it is a pleasure to see you.”

She sounded like a stranger as she polished off her words with a shrill laugh, and then offered the men about her a smile that gave Marcus no respect, practically dismissing him as a nobody. He was a Duke.

He stepped forward, entering her harem of men, and touched her arm. She did look back but it was with a sharp expression

“Forgive me I cannot spare you any of my time, I am having the most entertaining discussion with Mr Harrington and his cousin…”

Marcus was not willing to be played like the rest of these men. He did not do such things. He’d lost patience with this game, elbowing those she talked to aside he caught hold of her arm, eyeing her companions harshly. “If you will excuse Miss Derwent, gentlemen, I am afraid our discussion is far more urgent than she is aware.”

Marcus pulled her away from the group and led her across the middle of the empty dance floor, his fingers gripping her arm probably over tightly, propelling her towards the seclusion of a window seat….


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…

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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