In September 1809, the greater part of the civilized western world lay under the shadow of Napoleon Bonaparte, and a continent reeled at the shock of opposing armies. But while the newly modelled army of England, recovered from the blood and smoke of Corunna, had retaliated strongly at Talavera, and the Peninsula War was a year old, an aged aristocrat at Europe’s further edge was sinking still deeper into the mud of degradation and oppression.
One morning, a brig set sail from the Gulf of Patras, heading for Previsa. The strange appearance of the beach attracted the attention of a passenger on board the brig – a young man, a little above average height, perhaps a little plump, wrapped in a long boat-cloak. It was “Missolonghi. A strange name, like a sigh. A haunting name. I fear that it will haunt me – has haunted me … It fades into the night – but it will return. Or I shall return. So strange – yet I seem to have known it always.”