In this first part of a two-part series we examine the forgotten life of William Mesny. Drawing from author David Leffman’s 2016 book “The Mercenary Mandarin,” Laszlo discusses an unknown character from the bad old days of late Qing Dynasty China. Though he never made it to the history books, he nonetheless witnessed and took part in a lot of it. Through Mesny we can once again wander through some of Imperial China’s worst years.