Historical fiction novel, by Dimitris Apergis. Exclusively at the blog of OKYPUS in 36 weekly episodes, in English and Greek languages.
Synopsis: London, 1824. The boss of London's Crime Syndicate, Wilbur Barnaby, assigns two men to travel to the -revolting against the Ottomans- country of Greece and locate the renowned poet Lord Byron in order to obtain a gambling debt of his to the underworld. One of the two men is Welsh Bugs Hamhaduke, the so-called "neckwringer." The other is the enigmatic Lord Greywood. The two men will embark on an adventurous journey to the Greek city of Missolonghi via Paris. None of those involved, however, is aware of Lord Greywood's terrible secret: That he actually belongs to the Order of Strigoi Morti, the oldest and most dangerous generation of vampires.
ISBN : 978-618-00-1549-2
PRELUDE : Guilá Naquitz (1 chapter)
PART ONE : London (4 chapters)
PART TWO : Paris (10 chapters)
PART THREE : Vampires (10 chapters)
PART FOUR : Missolonghi (10 chapters)
EPILOGUE : Los Angeles (1 chapter)
[ep. 25 of 36]
PART THREE : Vampires
Newspaper Hellenic Chronicles, Saturday 19th April 1824, Missolonghi
The present days of festivity are converted into bitter days of lamentation for all-Lord Noel Byron departed this life today, about eleven o' clock in the evening, in consequence of a rheumatic, inflammatory fever, which had lasted for ten days.
During the time of his illness, your general anxiety evinced the profound sorrow that pervaded your hearts. All classes, without distinction of sex or age, oppressed by grief, entirely forgot the days of Easter.
The death of this illustrious personage is certainly a most calamitous event for all Greece, and still more lamentable for this city, to which he was eminently partial, of which he became a citizen, and of the dangers of which he was determined personally to partake, when circumstances should require it.
His munificent donations to this community are before the eyes of every one, and no one amongst us ever ceased, or ever will cease, to consider him, wit the purest and most grateful sentiments, our benefactor.
Until the dispositions of the National Government regarding this calamitous event be known, by virtue of the Decree of the Legislature, No. 314, of date the 15th October,
It is Ordained,
1. To-morrow, by sun-rise, thirty-seven minute guns shall be fired from the batteries of this town, equal to the number of years of the deceased personage.
2. All public offices, including all Courts of Justice, shall be shut for three following days.
3. All shops, except those for provisions and medicines, shall also be kept shut ; and all sorts of musical instruments, all dances customary in these days, all sorts of festivity and merriment in the public taverns, and every other sort of public amusement, shall cease during the above-named period.
4. A general mourning shall take place for twenty-one days.
5. Funeral ceremonies shall be performed in all the Churches.
GIORGIO PRAIDA (Secretary).
Missolonghi, 17th April, 1824
Newspaper Morning Advertiser, Saturday 15 May 1824, London
DEATH OF LORD BYRON
A Courier arrived in town yesterday morning with the distressing intelligence of the decease of Lord Byron, at Missolonghi, on the 19th of April, after an illness of ten days. A cold, attended with inflammation, was the cause of the fatal result. Lord Sidney Osborne's letters from Corfu are dated the 27th of April. His Lordship was about to proceed immediately to Zante, where the body had arrived.
It is with deep regret we have to announce the Death of Lord Byron, who expired at Missolonghi, on the 19th of April. England has thus lost one of its best poets, and one of the most distinguished Friends of Liberty of the age. His brilliant talents have been long the admiration of Europe, and his death is the more melancholy at a time when he was devoting his life and fortune to the cause of the Greeks, for whom he felt the most intense sympathy ; but the ardour of his mind seems to have overcome his bodily strength. The arrival of his Lordship in Greece inspired the Greeks with confidence, and added new vigour to their exertions - he removed the jealousy that existed among some of their Chiefs, and ever since his appearance among them the prospect of their emancipation has brightened, and their barbarous enemies have become appalled. His Lordship had recovered from his illness in February, which was quite of a different nature from that which occasioned his death. The regard paid to his memory by the Provisional Government of Greece, shows how much he was admired and beloved ; but at Missolonghi the grief of the inhabitants did not require any notification from the Government, as the mourning was deep and universal, and Easter, otherwise a season of festivity and joy, became one of lamentation and sorrow. The Greeks have requested and obtained the Heart of his Lordship, which will be placed in a Mausoleum in the Country, the liberation and independence of which was his expiring wish. His remains are to be brought to England, and deposited with those of his illustrious ancestors. His Lordship has left one Daughter, a minor.
Newspaper Morning Advertiser, Monday 17 May 1824, London
The following letter, announcing the death of Lord Byron has been addressed by Prince Mavrocordato, to the Secretary to the Greek Committee-
Missolonghi, 20th April 1824,
"Sir, and my very dear Friend-
It is with greatest affliction that I fulfil the duty of giving you the sad news of the death of Lord Byron, after an illness of ten days. Our loss is irreparable, and it is with justice that we abandon ourselves to inconsolable sorrow. Notwithstanding, the difficult circumstances in which I am placed, I shall attempt to perform my duty towards this great man; the eternal gratitude of my country will perhaps be the only true tribute to his memory. The Deputies will communicate to you the details of this melancholy event on which the grief which I feel will not allow me to dwell longer. You will excuse- you will justify, my being overwhelmed with sorrow, and accept the assurance of my devotion, &c.
To J. Bowring, Esq.
Secretary to the Greek Committee
George Gordon (Lord Byron), born in 1788, represents a family that came from the Normandy conquest and many of his ancestors hold a special place in the history of this country. The title of nobility was conferred on Sir John Byron for his service to the Royal cause in the battles of Edgehill and Newbury, in which he participated with six of his brothers.
William Lord Byron, who succeeded the family honours in 1736, was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1765 for the assassination of Mr Chaworth in a duel. The Lord died at Newstcad Abbey on 17 May 1798.
The Honorable John Byron, his brother, born at Newstcad Abbey on November 8, 1723, was distinguished in our Nautical History for the difficulties he encountered in the mission under Captain Anson, and for the mission which he himself commanded just before the start of the last royal term. The son of this veteran, John Byron, the poet's father, was born in 1751. He was distinguished in the chronicles of nobility by seducing the Marchioness of Carmarthen, whom, after her divorce, he married. After her death, John Byron married the poet's mother, Miss Gordon, a Scotswoman of noble descent, a heir to an estate in Rayne, in the Gairwih district, in Aberdeen county. John Byron died at Valenciennes on 2 August 1791. Lord Byron's mother died in Scotland while he was on his travels in 1811.
Lord Byron succeeded to the title and fortune after the death of William the fifth Lord Byron, who, as already mentioned, took place in 1798, when the Lord was ten years old.
By that time the Lord had lived in Aberdeenshire, and it seems that the wild scenery of the site in which he spent his early years remained forever engraved in his memory. It has been said that the freedom which he enjoyed in walking around the hills without control, in that early period, and that his delicate physical state, refreshed by the air and the exercise, later rendered him incorrigible to self-restraint.
Towards the end of the year 1798 he moved to Harrow. Speaking about his studies there, Lord Byron states, in a note to the fourth canto of "Childe Harold" - "In some parts of the continent young people are taught by simple common writers and do not read the best of the classics until they reach maturity. Of course I do not speak at this point out of anger or dislike for the design of my training. I wasn't slow, I was however an inert boy. And I think no one could be more connected to Harrow than I was, and for a good reason - a part of the time I spent there was the happiest of my life. And my teacher (the Reverend Dr. Joseph Drury) was the best and most valuable friend I ever had, whose advice I always remember very well, but unfortunately and very late, since I went astray at some point."
At the age of less than sixteen, he moved to Cambridge University, where he became a student at Trinity College.
At the age of nineteen he left university for Newstead Abbey, and at the same year he offered to the world his poetry collection "Hours of Idleness".
Reaching his adult age, Lord Byron boarded the Falmouth for Lisbon and from there went across the peninsula to the Mediterranean, in the company of Mr. Hobhouse.
The Lord's travels are described in "Childe Harold" and in the Journals. It is worth noting that the Lord escaped a fever in the area near where his life has just ended:
"When, in 1810," he says, "after my friend Mr. Hobhouse's departure for England, I was hit by a severe fever in Morea, these men (Albanians) saved my life, terrorising my doctor, whom they threatened, that they would cut his throat if I didn't heal within a given time. To this palliative assurance of post-mortem retaliation, as well as to the resolute refusal to Dr. Romanelli's medicines, I attribute my recovery. I had left my last remaining English servant in Athens. My dragoman or interpreter was as ill as I was, and my dear Arnauts treated me with care such that would bring honour to civilisation."
While the frigate Salsette, on which Lord Byron was a passenger to Constantinople, ran aground in Dardanelles, a debate arose among some of the officers about the applicability of crossing the Hellespont. Lord Byron and Lieutenant Ekenhead agreed to take the test and completed this operation on May 3, 1810.
He returned to England after almost three years' absence, and the first two of Childe Harold's cantos appeared a few months later. This poem was followed in quick succession by "Giaour" and "The Bride of Abydos", two Turkish stories. And while the world was still divided as to which of these three pieces deserve the most praise, the Lord wrote his beautiful poem "The Corsair".
On January 2, 1815, the Lord married, at Seaham, County Durham, the only daughter of Sir Ralph Milbank Noel, Baronet, and by the end of the same year his Lady brought a daughter to the world. Within a few weeks, however, a separation took place after which several reasons have been reported. This separation caused a huge sensation at that time. The Lord, while public interest was in its heights as to the course he was going to take, suddenly left England, with the decision never to return.
He travelled to France, through which he quickly moved to Brussels, conducting in his course a survey in the field of Waterloo. He moved to Coblentz and from there via the Rhine to Basle. After visiting some of Switzerland's most remarkable sites, he made his way to Northern Italy. He stayed in Venice for a long time, where he was soon joined by Mr. Hobhouse, who accompanied him on a trip to Rome, where he completed "Childe Harold".
In Venice, Lord Byron avoided as much contact as possible with his compatriots. He left the city and moved to other parts of the Austrian territory in Italy, which he abandoned for Tuscany. With him came the late Mr. Shelly, and then Mr. Leigh Hunt.
His paternal estate had recently received great value from the death of Mrs Byron's mother, and a precious coal mine, said to be worth 50,000 l , had been discovered at the Rochdale estate before the Lord left England, so at the time of his death he was probably in possession of a great income.
Lord Byron's journey to Greece, and the role he played in that country, will make his memory cherished to every friend of freedom.
One work of the Lord will be researched with more interest than any of his earlier publications. We are certainly referring to his biography, written by himself, which he handed over to his friend, Mr. Thomas Moore, and which took place in this country for a good deal of time.
If rumours are founded, Lord Byron has examined himself in this work after a relentless severity which very few men are capable of.
[to be continued next Friday, 3 July 2020, exclusively at the blog of OKYPUS]
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A few words about the author
Dimitris Apergis was born in Larisa, Greece, in 1978. He graduated in BA (Hons) Film Studies in the UK. He lives in Greece.
His books are published in both English and Greek languages, by the OKYPUS PUBLISHING. https://en.okypus.com/okypus-publisher
Dimitris Apergis has received several awards for his literary work.
In 2018 he received the First Literature Award from the Panhellenic Association of Writers for his novel Gerard & the father. Additionally, in 2018 his novel Gerard & the father also received the First Literature Award at the 8th International Literature Contest held by E.P.O.C. (Hellenic Culture Association of Cyprus) under the aegis of UNESCO.
In 2017 his novel ‘At the Whiskey County’ received the First Literature Award at the 7th International Literature Contest held by the Hellenic Culture Association of Cyprus under the aegis of UNESCO.
In 2015 his novella ‘Jazz Room’ received the Second Literature Award from the Panhellenic Association of Writers.
In 2013 he received a Praise from the Panhellenic Association of Writers for his short story Labyrinth.
In 2012 he received the First Literature Award from the MONITOR Press for his short story Acid Rain.