Slight deviation from Waterloo matters today – though perhaps not entirely.… Here is a piece I’ve written for my MA.
Letter from Susannah, Lady Stafford to her son Lord Granville Leveson Gower
Trentham, March 23rd, 1803
“This evening my pelisse arrived; it is exactly what I like, and not one Bit too large. Pray thank Lady Bes. a thousand Times and tell her how much I like it, and pray take Money in your Pocket to pay it without Delay, and be as expeditious in calling for the Money, as I told you in my last, for I want to have the Acct. of my bills all settled in a few Days. And I want a long and comfortable Letter from you.
Have you read the Articles signed at the Cape? Mr. Cobbett will find Food there for his next newspaper? Lord Carlisle speaks away, at a great Rate, in the H. of Lords. Should he make Motions without knowing whether or no his Friends will second or support him? I do not understand these Matters, but it appears to me like the shewing an Inclination to do what he does not know how to execute, and of Consequence not to his Advantage as a Politician.
I though not to mention what I have so much at Heart, fearing to worry you; but upon second Thoughts, I believe it must be the most pleasing Subject to you, for I know you are attached to her; and though sometimes Jealousy may make you see things in a false Medium, yet you must feel that you have Cause to hope, and you cannot but be pleased to read or to hear any thing of the Object of your Affections, and I do hear that though there is not any Certainty, yet Spectators fancy you the favor’d lover, and take Occasion to report how much Lord Villiers is to be pitied, for that he is really and truly in Love with her, and scruples not to own himself miserable, but that you are attach’d elsewhere and follow her for her Fortune. This very ill natured, false Report, though it provokes me, yet to me it proves that his Aiders and abettors think you have the Preference in her affection, and so I trust you have.
Do not allow a Dash of jealousy to poison your Mind, but go on in following her, talking to her, and paying her every Attention in your Power. You may be agitated with Hopes, Fears, and anxious Doubts – all who truly love experience these contending Plagues; you are therefore as well off as any of your Sex ever were whilst in that State of Uncertainty. So Good Night, my beloved Granville.
P.S Do not forget to pay the Pelisse, with my best Acknowledgements. It was very, very Good in Lady Bes. to trouble herself to conduce to make my old Carcass warm and comfortable.” 
I found this letter from an anxious mother when researching the early life of Lady Sarah Fane, heiress to the Child banking fortune, and later 5th Countess of Jersey. Granville was one of several young men who pursued and flattered her, so I looked for material about him. Fortunately his daughter-in-law published two volumes of letters sent to him at this period and beyond; a valuable source.
The interest of this letter is that it reflects the values and pre-occupations of the upper classes in the early nineteenth century. Beneath the affectionate tone and overt advice, there is much that is unsaid. On the surface it is a mix of maternal concern, worldly advice and hope. Yet it also has moments of insincerity and self-deceit.
Lady Stafford’s pelisse had been purchased in Paris by Harriet, Lady Bessborough, a woman she feared and mistrusted. Though married, and twelve years his senior, Harriet had been Granville’s lover for the last six years. 
This distressed his mother, a woman of strong moral principles, who longed to see her handsome son married well and happily; preferably to the rich Lady Sarah. Yet Harriet and her sister Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire were leaders of the five hundred or so aristocrats who formed society; they set fashion, and were politically influential. Lady Stafford did not quite dare to offend her son’s mistress, so she asked Grenville to pay for the gift. She could not bear to be beholden, and that she returns to the subject in her P.S. is significant. Her gratitude sounds false and her attempt at humour – ‘my old Carcass’ – is uneasy.
Harriet had a particular motive for sending the pelisse. She was frightened of losing Granville altogether. Unwilling to divorce and lose her legitimate children, she knew it would be unnatural for him to remain single. He might succeed in marrying Lady Sarah, who was beautiful as well as wealthy . She therefore sought to make an ally of his mother, to whom he was close. Harriet could be wonderfully persuasive and she succeeded in charming Lady Stafford into acceptance of her role in Granville’s life. Her gift signals the start of that campaign.
In the second paragraph of inconsequential political gossip, Lady Stafford is hesitating to address the subject that pre-occupied her; getting Granville away from his lover and into the arms of Lady Sarah. In a previous letter, hearing that Harriet had returned from Europe, Lady Stafford had remarked darkly:
In a Letter received this Post, “It is a Pity that People are return’d from the Continent, and Opportunities are taken to remind Ly. S. F. of Lord G’s attachment to that Person.” 
She does not say in either letter who is reminding Lady Sarah of this attachment, or which ‘Aiders and abettors’ were speculating that Granville was only interested in her fortune. But the lovelorn George, Lord Villiers was the son of a wily and ambitious woman; Frances, 4th Countess of Jersey, who was more than capable of initiating these rumours. There was a degree of truth in them because Granville needed to marry money. He was a gambler, and once lost £23,000  in a night.
Poor Lady Stafford wanted to believe that Granville was the favoured suitor, and that he was serious about Lady Sarah. She was trying to convince herself by urging him on, but a courtship which required so much advice cannot have been a very serious one. Granville was sent to Russia on a diplomatic mission before he had been nagged into proposing, and Lady Sarah made her choice; she married Lord Villiers in May, 1804.
Lady Stafford died in August 1805, when Granville was still abroad. One can only speculate how she would have reacted to his eventual marriage to Lady Harriet Cavendish; Harriet’s own niece…
The Waterloo connection is that Harriet Bessborough’s second son Frederick Ponsonby was severely wounded during the battle. His regiment were taking part in a charge when a large body of French lancers rode down on them. Both of Frederick’s arms were slashed, and though his gallant horse tried to carry him to higher ground, he received a blow to the head that knocked him out of the saddle. When he tried to stand up, he was stabbed in the back. This last wound penetrated his lung. A French foot soldier robbed him as he lay gasping for breath, but he received kinder treatment from an enemy officer who poured brandy into his mouth to revive him.
The Prussian army had arrived to support Wellington by this time, but their pursuit of the retreating French meant further agony for Frederick, as he was badly trampled by their horses. After eighteen hours lying helplessly on the ground, he was discovered by an English soldier who stayed with him, and they were eventually rescued by a dragoon from Frederick’s own regiment. Too ill to ride, he was taken by wagon to the surgeons at Wellington’s headquarters.
Harriet was travelling in Italy, but on hearing the news (at first she believed him to be dead) she undertook an extremely dangerous journey to Brussels to rush to his aid. Though very ill, he survived to tell his extraordinary tale.
Harriet Bessborough with her sons William and Frederick Ponsonby (Hoppner)
Lord Granville Leveson Gower, 1804 (Lawrence)
Lady Stafford with Granville and her daughters (Hoppner)
Sarah Sophia Fane, later Lady Jersey.
 P 416, The Private Correspondence of Lord Granville Leveson Gower, 1781-1821, Volume 1, ed. Castalia, Countess Granville, John Murray, London; 1916
 Harriet gave birth to two of Granville’s children, in 1800 and 1804. There is no evidence that Lady Stafford knew this.
 Her daughter, Caroline Ponsonby, was fragile. We know her as Lady Caroline Lamb.
 Her annual income was £60,000 equivalent to £2 million today
 Ibid. p. 415
 Equivalent to £740,000.00