The Truth by Jane Lark ~ a book exclusive to my blog part two

The Truth

© Jane Lark Publishing rights belong to Jane Lark,

this should not be recreated in any form without prior consent from Jane Lark



The sailors immediately began climbing the rigging, like spiders climbing across webs all over the ship. The sails unfurled in a whoosh of canvas as she watched her father standing on the dock, speaking with an official from the port.

Her mother’s hand gripped Emerald’s and drew her to the rail out of the way as more sailors ran across the deck, hauling ropes or tying them off. Emerald’s heart thumped hard in her chest. Shouts passed across the ship, orders and confirmation as Mr Farrow, the captain and his lieutenant moved to the upper-deck where the giant steering wheel loomed.

The steady sound of the winding mechanism hauling up the chain which held the anchor, trembled through the air.

They were really going, leaving India. Forever.

She looked at her father again and gripped the rail which ran at waist-height the length of the deck. He was still talking with the port-official. She drank in the sight of her father, his portly figure and his dear face, trying to cut it so deep into her memory the image would never be lost. Then she lifted her gaze to Calcutta to the high wall surrounding the colony and the brightly painted roofs within, the bulbous pointed towers in reds, yellows and blues. She soaked the sight up, all of it, and the sounds, the smells of sea, salt and spices which infused the warm air.

“Ladies, may I show you to your cabin?” It was Mr Bishop, the quartermaster.

Emerald glanced back at him, as her mother did. She saw Mr Farrow watching from the upper-deck. He wished them stowed away like his cargo, like tea, tobacco or silk.

“No, thank you, Mr Bishop, not yet,” Emerald’s mother answered. “We would rather say goodbye to India.” Having refused, Emerald’s mother looked back at the dock. A breeze caught the fine silk of her ochre coloured shawl, whipping at its fringe and a loose strand of her pale blonde hair; her beauty defied years. Emerald had always admired it, along with her mother’s strength of character. Emerald wished to be like her and not disappoint her, and yet the longing for more than a subservient marriage to her English cousin was undeniable.

Her mother looked sideways and smiled, offering Emerald reassurance – the comfort Emerald silently longed for, though it did not go deep enough. Emerald had longed for a reprieve. She wished to come back.

She said nothing, as she had not done before. There was always a weariness in her mother’s eyes these days, that said she was too tired and worn down by life to face challenge or arguments from a contrary, stubborn daughter. Emerald hugged her mother, instead, briefly, it was suddenly clear to her that leaving India was hard for her mother too.

They turned back to the rail together, one hand gripping each others’ but as Emerald moved she noticed Mr Farrow once more, on the upper-deck, holding the rail and looking down at them. He smiled, or rather lifted his lips. It was an acknowledgement, nothing more. She had never seen him smile genuinely, or laugh, or show any sign of natural emotion. She looked away, at the dock. Her father had ceased speaking and was watching them. He lifted his hand. Her mother’s fingers squeezed Emerald’s and they both raised their other hands in answer, her father’s handkerchief gripped in Emerald’s.

The sound of the winding anchor stopped and the rigging above creaked as the sails caught the wind. There were smaller steamboats linked to the ship by ropes to pilot them out of port. The ship began to pull away, water swishing about the hull, shallow waves slapping at the ship as the tide pulled out and took the ship with it. Emerald lifted her hand higher. As the ship turned, she turned in an opposing movement to keep sight of her father. Her mother did too, her fingers gripping Emerald’s tighter, both of them waving more keenly. Emerald fluttered his handkerchief like a flag so he would clearly see. He was smiling. Emerald let go of her mother’s hand and pressed a kiss to her fingertips, then blew it to him. He caught it in a fist as he’d done when she was a child, then pressed it to his cheek, before sending her one in return. It may be the last thing they ever shared.

“Papa! I love you!” she shouted, knowing as the ship slipped through the water he could not hear, they were already too far out of reach, but she did not lower her hand she kept waving, as did her mother. Her father stood there, unmoving, his hand in the air, shrinking and shrinking until he became no more than a dot, but she still saw the moment his arm descended and knew with a dreadful certainty, it was the end–the end of happiness. She was leaving her life behind.


Richard looked at Mark who stood beside the women on the quarterdeck below. Mark nodded back. Richard had been watching Catherine and her daughter from the vantage point of the poop-deck. He gripped the rail more firmly and wondered what this journey would bring. Ill-luck probably with the women on board; women always brought bad luck. Mark had been asked to steer them into their cabin out of the way as they sailed. But Richard had seen Catherine refuse and her daughter’s tears. When Mark had looked up querying their refusal, Richard had agreed to let them stay. He could see their parting was painful, though, he’d no idea what that pain felt like.

He was embarking on a journey to be reunited with his family. The two images could not be more starkly opposing.

She was leaving her father’s love behind–he was returning to his father’s hatred.

The inverse parallel amused him.

While he watched, Mark coughed to gain the ladies’ attention and Mrs Martin looked back at the quartermaster. Her daughter’s eyes remained on the distant dock, though she could not possibly see anything clearly, bar the grey line of the harbour wall and the coloured roofs of the town behind, they were already too far out.

Richard breathed out heavily. The Governor’s daughter had an intensely feminine, fragile, appearance. She was in profile to him, had been most of the time, and he’d been absorbed in the delicacy of her features. The girl was a beauty. He’d already given one signal for his crew to keep their eyes averted but it was going to be hard for them not to look. Locks of pale blonde hair had slipped loose when her bonnet had been knocked off and tumbled down her back, to hang by its ribbons, and now those strands of hair brushed her neck as the wind played with them. It was an artistic beauty, not sexual, not to his usual taste. Richard thought of June, the mistress he had left behind in Calcutta this morning, dark haired and voluptuous. That was his taste; a woman who knew how to handle and entertain a man, a woman who he did not feel he might break. Yet the fact he was even thinking of sex as he looked at Miss Martin named his thoughts as a lie, there must be something more than outer beauty that attracted him.

She was not as he’d thought previously, though, not a pretty, shallow, shell of beauty. He had only needed to look into her eyes to know there was an intelligent vibrant woman within. She’d been rumoured wild in her childhood, and it was still there, albeit tamed. It was there when you scratched her lady-like surface. Spirit oozed from the girl and his men could see it too. Her delicate figure and perfect beauty may imply serenity and fragility. But the glimmer in her eyes, the way she moved, the passion in her gaze, the words for her father and the look, which even now she cast back to the dock, spoke of a determination and fire beneath. Every man aboard his ship would willingly have the girl in bed, he did not doubt it, and he was not immune.

However he did not think the feeling was mutual. When the girl’s mother passed on Mark’s words, Miss Martin’s gaze snapped up to look at Richard. It said, she did not like being ordered out of the way. And, if he judged her look correctly, nor did she like him.

His lips lifted in a slight acknowledgement and he nodded as he’d done before when she’d glanced up and like before she looked away. He did not. He watched Mr Bishop herd her and her mother, like sheep or geese, across the quarterdeck and into their cabin underneath where he stood. It was the largest, usually the captain’s cabin and when he came onboard, Richard’s. The whole damned ship was disturbed by their presence.

As the women disappeared he looked up at the men hanging in the rigging. Their eyes had been on the women too. “Look to your tasks!” he yelled up at them, casting his gaze across them all and then glaring at those on deck. They looked away and increased their pace. He’d have to reinforce his order with his senior crew over dinner. He did not want his men ogling the women all day, lack of concentration was dangerous–a loose sail or a slack knot could kill, if a sail swung back or a rope flew free.

He watched the activity for a while longer and listened to the familiar sounds as the ship cut through the waves and the wind whipped at the sails. He loved the sea–loved the exhilaration of mastering the forces of wind and water. His first three years in business he’d spent on his first vessel; establishing trade routes, shipping any cargo for profit, carving his niche as an alternative to the East India Company; fighting the elements and never knowing if he’d win. It was the thrill of winning he loved; the elation of sailing a cargo into port having brought it through vicious storms and traversed hundreds of miles of sea. His heart thumped at the thought of facing a storm again. Better that than what awaited him in England.


To be continued…

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

To read the Marlow Intrigues series, you can start anywhere, but the actual order is listed below ~ and click like to follow my Facebook Page not to miss anything…

 The Marlow Intrigues


The Lost Love of Soldier ~ The Prequel #1 ~ A Christmas Elopement began it all 

The Illicit Love of a Courtesan #2 

Capturing The Love of an Earl ~ A Free Novella #2.5 

The Passionate Love of a Rake #3 

The Desperate Love of a Lord ~ A second Free Novella #3.5 

The Scandalous Love of a Duke #4

The Dangerous Love of a Rogue #5

The Jealous Love of a Scoundrel #5.5

The Secret Love of a Gentleman #6

Jane’s books can be ordered from most booksellers in paperback and, yes, there are more to come  🙂 


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



The end of Harriette Wilson’s tale, not told by her… Where does the life of a courtesan end?

Harriette_Wilson00After writing her memoirs, Harriette had the writing bug, and also an awful lot of unsaid information about people who did not want her to tell it. She wrote a play called Bought In and Bought Out to explore in a comedy how some of her former lovers had bought out of her memoirs with certain stipulations…

In 1828 she and the man she called her husband at the time, Mr Rochfort, moved back to London permanently, she purchased a fourteen year lease on a town house on the corner of Trevor Square, and began writing novels. Clara Gazul and Paris Lions and London Tigers

In 1829 though she once again hit the press, as her maid accused her of having pulled away a chair so she fell on the floor, and then refused to feed her anything but bread and water, Harriette was arrested and taken to court Bell’s Life in London, ran an article on her appearance. She was described as old, ugly and grey haired.  And at this court case Rochfort stated that Harriette was not strictly his wife.

In this year Harriette is known to also have begun testing the water in London, as far as possible new courtesan style relationships. She approached an author sixteen years her junior, and he kept her letters. But she is older, and times had changed, and the young author had no interest, other than to be flattered enough to keep the letters. But he marked them stating that he never met her.

In 1830, Harriette wrote a letter stating that in order for Mr Rochfort to obtain his inheritance from his estranged mother, he would need to be single, as his mother disapproved of Harriette and so she had decided to separate from him. Rochfort hired rooms in Berkeley Square.

In December 1831 however Rochfort began another affair. He fell in love with another man’s wife and moved in with her. It was another swift kick to poor Harriette’s ego. At first she still wrote to others as though she was his wife, but in 1832 she stopped mentioning him, and simply pretended he’d never existed, and then began using her real surname Debuchet. She had continued to write to Lord Ponsonby through the years since she published her memoirs, though he never replied. In 1832 the letters to him became even more regular, and were filled with outpourings of the pain she suffered following his desertion of her in favour of her younger sister. At this point she lived at 69 Vauxhall Bridge Road and Lord Ponsonby and his friends wrote to one another using terms such as ‘Obscene harpy’ ‘vile woman’ ‘wretched individual‘ to describe Harriette.

While Harriette spent the next two years falling into being nothing but regretted history, Rochfort used the connections he had made through her to begin walking in the world of the men who had passed her around among them, he began working for the Duke of Wellington.

In 1834 Harriette moved back to Knightsbridge and tried her hand at playing the bawd and bringing younger woman into favour as prostitutes among the men of the ‘first nobility.’ Of course these men no longer trusted her and so the attempt did not succeed. She even wrote a letter to Lord Ponsonby offering him one of the girls, but the letter was as much a message reminiscing on her past with him.

The next we here of Harriette is in 1840, when her life finally took a turn  for the good. She was baptised into the Catholic Church, as Mary Magdalen, and began to preach of her conversion, dedicating all her energy and keen mind to her faith. There is one letter to the young author she had tried to seduce some years before saying her commitment to God meant she was no longer available for ‘love’ … ‘when I was a sinner and a good looking one’ …

Harried lived in a cottage then, tending a cottage garden and devoted now to only her faith. She died on the 10th March 1845 two weeks after her 59th birthday. In her final letters, she asked that the Duke of Leinster and Frederick Lamb pay her medical bills, and that Brougham, Leinster and Lord Worcester, now the Duke of Beaufort pay for her burial. Brougham wrote to Beaufort from Parliament.

My dear Duke,

Our old acquaintance, Mme De Bochet (Harriette Wilson) died the week before last and left a note to say she hoped two or three of her former acquaintance would give the few pounds (fifteen) required to bury her – she having had an estimate price in with all the particulars  of the church and struck off what was merely ornamental – which has reduced it as above. Duke of Leinster has given a little and I think as she also named you and me, we ought to contribute our might.

What say you?

A few days later Brougham wrote again, and asked for a little more saying that she had left additional debts for medical care, which her brother, a piano turner could not afford.

Harriette’s funeral took place at Chelsea Catholic Chapel and her death certificate recorded her as Harreitte De Bochet a ‘woman of independent means’.

It’s not known where she was buried.


So that is goodbye to Harriette and her colourful life. I shall miss her. But perhaps one day we may discover even more of the truth. After Harriette and her publisher Stockdale had died Sophie Stockdale, the publisher’s wife, is known to have tried to begin a new blackmail campaign.

My Lord,

Pardon the liberty I take in writing to your Lordship.

In  looking over my late husband’s papers I find that the MSS of Harriette Wilson is quite perfect, and more than appeared in print, for there are all those who withheld their names only merely crossed out with the pen. In offering the MSS to your Lordship, I was recollecting the circumstances of the late Lord Spencer’s undoubtedly a true history of our times, and there are also the numerous letters of who shall be in print and who shall not, for in years to come who would suppose that the greatest men of any age appear in the MSS.

I am not like Junius, I cannot afford to commit my MSS to the flames.

Sophie Stockdale…

One day then, perhaps, this original manuscript may be discovered…

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’.

Look at the index to discover all the true stories Jane has discovered during research, and to find links to excerpts and a FREE novella ~ A Lord’s Desperate Love

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