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CarolinelambI said at the end of my post last week that Lady Caroline Lamb went to a girls’ school. In fact  the school she went to in Knightsbridge, in 1795 at the age of ten, was the same school which Jane Austen and her sister Cassandra had attended. The school at 22 Hans Place, was run by Frances Rowden a former governess in Lady Caroline Lamb’s father’s family. But before I tell you more, here is a quick recap of the background of this series of posts, if you’ve read it before just skip to where I start again with bold type…

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.”

By 1795 Caroline received regular doses of laudanum to make her temper more manageable for her grandmother (who records mixing drops of laudanum disguised with drops of lavender to keep Caroline calm) and ill mother and aunt found Caroline unmanageable. The Devonshire’s would ensure they only entertained when Caroline was not there, and they hired nurses to take her away from the family. While her mother’s energy was focused on her young military lover.

Numerous letters are still in existence shared between the two of them, which describe not only their love affair, but Harriet’s, and therefore Caroline’s, daily life.

From these letters, and others, we know the family desperately wished to be rid of Caro and place her into the care of others, and so it was that in 1795 at the age of ten she was sent to school.

As a pupil, just as Jane Austen and Cassandra would have done, Lady Caroline Lamb was required to wear a uniform. A white muslin dress with a black apron. At the school they practiced their writing, French and Italian, and were given dance lessons. After lunch there were made to lay on boards for half-an-hour and taught to walk back and forth in a certain way to develop their deportment.

But the school did not particularly calm Caroline’s natural exuberance and wildness.

In January 1797 Caroline writes about herself, to her older cousin (Little G) Lady Georgiana Cavendish – expressing perhaps what she must have been told many times in her life… and then ends her diatribe with an odd riddle.

I’m mad

That’s bad

I’m sad

That’s bad

I’m bad

That’s mad

A riddle

The damson tree

Damn the trees on

You know damson tree

Well put

Damn tree son

That makes treason

Though ’tis good to say

Damn tree son

Ah little, little, little me

Writes to devel, devel G’…

In the same letter Caroline mentions the addictive sins of both her mother and aunt, in words that ring with a note of repetition, perhaps, her mother and/or aunt often said this?  ‘Oh Lord what troubles in this be and naught but gambling wine and glee.

In 1797 Caroline was integrated back into the family, although still dosed with laudanum. She was allowed to spend the summer visiting with her mother, and Caroline wrote to her cousin G in this period, expressing a little of her family life, ‘We played at Pope jone every night almost for money till nine or a little past, my brothers went yesterday to Harrow before they went they hunted some rats and John threw me a dead one which blooded me. Last night I looked at Jupiter the star through the telescope it looked like a full moon’ – I love the excerpts of normal Georgian life which you find in  letters it feels to me like I can touch the past.

In January 1798 Caroline, caught chicken pox, and passed them on to her brother William, as recorded by her mother in a letter to her young lover, Granville, ‘I have never seen anything so pretty as Caroline nursing him.’

But then we have another glimpse of the sort of life which defined Caroline’s childhood, and perhaps influenced who she became. After the bout of chicken pox, the family moved back to London, to Cavendish square. Approaching thirteen, Caroline’s mother and father would now be considering an appropriate marriage, and looking at who they may pair there daughter with when she was of age. But an incident occurred in the family’s London home, when at the age of twelve Caroline walked in to her mother’s dressing room and found her being indelicate with the young officer she had begun an affair with in Naples years before.

The letters between Granville and Harriet give us a window into this experience, Granville made no excuses and simply left. Caroline said to Harriet, she believed he had left because she was ugly, and Harriet wrote to him saying she said, ‘I suppose Lord Granville would not deign to look at me if I am all pitted with chicken pox.’ When her mother asked why she thought this, Harriet recorded Caroline’s answer, ‘he seems too fine a gentlemen to like ugly people‘  Hariet herself then adds, ‘why Caroline supposes you are so govern’d by looks’ 

You can only wonder at the type of conversations and behaviors that carried on before young Caroline’s eyes…

Just one more set of tales to tell about Lady Caroline Lamb’s childhood next week, and the we will have reached her ‘Coming out:-)

~

CompleteCollecvtion_Facebook_Advert (1)

~

 Go to the index

For

  • 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 www.janelark.co.uk 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 most booksellers in paperback

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A #free short story…  I’ll be telling it here, and it can also now be downloaded from Amazon.

© Copyright Jane Lark; Publishing rights owned by Harper Impulse; Harper Collins UK

Capturing the Earl’s Love

Capturing the Earl's Love High Res

A Historical Romance story

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Part Seven

Part Eight

Part Nine

Part Ten

Part Eleven

Part Twelve

Part Thirteen

~

Part Fourteen

Warning* this another passionate part ;) 

~

When Rupert came into Meredith’s room later, she felt just as nervous as she had the night before. His mother had made it clear she was unhappy with her son’s marriage and would never offer Meredith respect  – but seeing as Meredith had forced them all into this predicament, she was to ensure she made Lord Morton a good wife.

With those words ringing in Meredith’s ears, she had dined with him with what seemed a mile between them as they sat at opposite ends of the long table. Then in the carriage, on the journey to the Foley’s, he and Rowena had sat next to each other, facing her, silent.

Meredith had longed to speak. She wished to swear to them she had not intended this, but she had not been able to hold herself back from grasping the one thing she’d wished for when the opportunity was there, within her reach. She had wanted to be with Rupert.

At the ball he’d danced with her once, at the start, a country dance, which meant he had no need to speak to her. Then he’d stood speaking with his cousin while she’d danced with others. It had not even felt as though they were married. Everything had been as it was before, except she’d lost Rowena’s friendship.

Meredith had cried in her room until the maid came to help her undress. Now she was in her nightgown, sitting in bed. She hadn’t known whether to stand, or sit, or how to wait for him…

She smiled at him, desperately wishing to be the wife he wanted.

He said nothing, but walked towards her, undoing his dressing gown as he said, “Take off your nightgown.”

She began unbuttoning it, without rising, her fingers shaking as pain burned the back of her throat and tears stung her eyes.

But then he was naked, and leaning over her, and his presence and the beauty of his body overwhelmed her as he moved her fingers away and took over the task.

Her heart beating, her eyes watched his face.

Once the buttons were loose, one of his hands slipped inside and clasped her breast as his mouth came down on hers.

They had crossed the bridge which stood between them in the day, again. He did not feel cold and distant anymore. He felt warm, and he was close, and she felt loved as he touched her.

After a while, he took off her nightgown, and as he did so, a spasm clasped in her stomach, anticipating him there.

He had been there last night. She still ached a little from his invasion.

Once they were both naked, he lay beside her and touched her, his hands stroking everywhere, and hers caressed him, touching his skin and feeling the muscle and sinew beneath.

When he touched her between her legs, she parted them and touched him too.

He broke their kiss and looked down at her.

He’d left the candles burning, as he’d done the night before. She could see his face clearly. His eyes shone bright.

“Meredith,” he said, before kissing her again. She did not understand his pitch; it was half question, half statement. She continued to touch him and he continued to touch her.

The sensation, which had overtaken her last night, stole her senses away again before he was even within her, and when it did, he moved over her. She looked up into his eyes, holding on to his shoulders.

She held her breath as he entered, but it did not hurt tonight. It was blissfully completing.

He moved with determined strokes, watching her too.

She wanted to speak, but she was afraid to, in case it broke the bridge, and he became distant again.

Her fingers cupped his face, and for the first time she thought of him as truly hers. He was her husband. He was hers.

His hazel eyes shone as he moved steadily and watched her, watching him.

She ached with love. She ached with need. Then he stole her wits, and her mind reeled, while he worked harder for a moment, then pressed deep and cried out.

Her arms slipped about his neck, and she clung to him, as his weight lay more heavily on her.

She did not want him to leave her body when he withdrew and pulled away – she did not want him to leave her bed. But she had to let him go; she could hardly force him to stay with her. Yet she wanted to keep standing on this bridge with him, and not let him put distance between them again.

He rolled on to his back, and lay beside her, his forearm falling onto his forehead.

She wished to lie on her side and hug him but she did not dare. Looking up at the canopy of the bed, she said to the air. “I did not intend anything to happen that night…”

His arm lifted and he turned on to his side.

“Rupert… I have—”

His fingers covered her lips. “Let’s not speak about it. What is done is done.”

He lay back, then set his arm about her and drew her head to his shoulder. “Sleep now, Meredith. I’ll be waking you in a little while.”

She did sleep, cuddling up against him, held as she had never been held.

~

Capturing The Earl’s Love is the  story of two of the secondary characters from the 1st book in

the Marlow Intrigues Series

‘The Illicit Love of a Courtesan’

~

To read the full 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 ~ Free here, see  index

#3 The Scandalous Love of a Lord

and, yes, there are more to come :-)

CompleteCollecvtion_Facebook_Advert

~

 Go to the index

For

  • 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 www.janelark.co.uk 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 most booksellers in paperback

10367596_633268423430916_6741081225667559588_n

 

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