Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know

Caroline was staying at her family’s country home at Brocket Hall for the quiet distraction it offered. She had taken to bed with a fever on the day she received the letter confirming his death. The news was horrible enough for her without the admonition that was attached to it, “'Caroline, behave properly, I know it will shock you...”

“Behave properly?!” she screamed before fainting.

Her already delicate condition grew more precarious with each passing day. Rumors flew through the privileged circles in London about his demise. He was being celebrated as a hero of Greece. A credit to the crown. But his name was also being whispered less admirably in private among those who knew. A pervert. A disgrace. It hurt her to think that any of it was her fault. If only he hadn’t broken off all contact with her.

It was his fault, she decided.

“No... blame lies with him... he’d still be breathing if he’d just not spurned me... damn him! I cut myself for you, damn you!”

Caroline’s husband watched stoicly from the doorway.

By July 1st, 1824, she was still home-bound with fits and fevers but had resigned herself to love’s loss. That day, confirmation came that his body had arrived in London.

Over the next two weeks she gradually improved; enough so that she decided to take the advice of her doctors and get some fresh air. A ride. The thought of it brightened her spirits.

“A fresh start... and I’ll put him out of my mind forever,” she said.

As the carriage wound its way through the garden city of Welwyn, it halted for the passage of a long cortege. It was Lord Byron’s funeral procession.

This time, Lady Caroline Lamb’s nervous breakdown would haunt her for the rest of her life.

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