Anyway … the little girl in the graveyard at the beginning of Falkner is only six and is a friendless orphan. We learn about the sad deaths of her parents and how their landlady takes care of the little girl, Treby—full name: Elizabeth.
A stranger arrives in town, a man, it seems, who is bent on suicide. His name is Falkner. He goes to the graveyard to shoot himself—and guess who stops him at the last moment? Grateful, he resolves he will raise the little girl himself.
Some years pass; they’re in Odessa. A remarkable Englishwoman named Miss Jervis joins them and commences the education of the little girl, who is excited to learn. She learns swiftly, and Falkner is tremendously impressed.
More years pass. Now they’re in Baden, Switzerland, where Falkner sees a young Englishman he recognizes. Neville. The young man … interests … Elizabeth, but the sight of him for some reasons causes Falkner to flee. Soon, he sends for Elizabeth and Miss Jervis to join him in Mainz, Germany—about 400 miles north. And then to London. Elizabeth, charmed with Neville, hopes she’ll see him again.
And then Falkner—like Trelawny and Byron—resolves to go join the Greek War of Independence (1821–32). He leaves narratives behind, stories that reveal his own mysterious biography (not to be read until he has died) and relate his discovery of Elizabeth. She goes with him to Greece.
More years pass. Then she gets word that Falkner has been wounded in battle, is suffering from malaria, and is near death in a remote Greek village. She rushes to him …