Lord Byron was having an affair with Susan Vaughan, his Welsh maid from his estate at Newstead Abbey. Byron's page or servant, Robert Rushton, was also having an affair with Vaughan. This is the background to what seems to be a trivial dispute detailed in the correspondence exchanged between them. Byron had accused Rushton of refusing to deliver one of his letters to Vaughan. Rushton denied the charge in a letter of January 23. In that letter, Rushton, rather brazenly in the circumstances, added that he would be remiss if he did not acknowledge with the greatest gratitude every favour he had received from Byron`s ``bountiful hands``.
It appears that the servant had learned a great deal from his master. Byron`s letter strongly suggests that he already knows that Rushton is also having an affair with Vaughan.
The January 25, 1812 letter of Byron to Rushton can be found in the very useful and elegant site Lord Byron and His Times.
The letter of January 25, 1812 reads as follows:
TO ROBERT RUSHTON.
“8, St. James’s-street, January 25th, 1812.“Your refusal to carry the letter was not a subject of remonstrance; it was not a part of your business; but the language you used to the girl was (asshe stated it) highly improper.“You say that you also have something to complain of; then state it to me immediately; it would be very unfair, and very contrary to my disposition, not to hear both aides of the question.“If any thing has passed between you before or since my last visit to Newstead, do not be afraid to mention it. I am sure you would not deceive me, though she would. Whatever it is, you shall be forgiven. I have not been without some suspicions on the subject, and am certain that, at your time of life, the blame could not attach to you. You will not consult any one as to your answer, but write to me immediately. I shall be more ready to hear what you have to advance, as I do not remember ever to have heard a word from you before against any human being, which convinces me you would not maliciously assert an untruth. There is not any one who can do the least injury to you while you conduct yourself properly. I shall expect your answer immediately.“Yours, &c.“Byron.”