Bohemia Village Voice  Bohemia Village Voice

For bohemians everywhere

Matthew Jameson

Earl Grey

“Welcome seekers,” said the man as he turned to us. We all knew who he was. Tall and thin, with an aristocratic demeanour and piercing blue eyes, he was Balthus Greystoke, the fourth Earl of Grey.
“My ancestor,” he continued, “Grayson Greystoke, was created the first Earl of Grey in 1835 and was the only landless Gentry, or ‘Floating Nob’ elevated by the court of William IV. He typified the bloody-minded arrogance of colonial aristocracy and was given command of a Brigade to enforce the will of the King in whichever Raj or Emirate it was deemed necessary to ‘decant a caraffe of thrash-arse’ upon. An incisive tactical mind coupled with a vicious ruthlessness won him many victories; indeed, his ‘Greyjackets’ were both feared and revered in every corner of the Dark Continent. He secured huge ‘tributes’ from new members of the burgeoning British Empire, claiming a percentage of each as bounty, also receiving many gifts from nervous rulers attempting to curry favour such as the Mystershyne Diamond and the largest blue emerald ever found, known as the Buddha’s Mirth, amongst other equally exotic treasures.”
“Now then,” he fixed us with a penetrating look, “When Queen Victoria ascended the throne, the old Earl became a close advisor of the young Monarch and retired here to Hastings, spending time with Victoria during the summer, but more importantly, bringing his vast wealth with him. He took modest apartments in Crown House as a permanent guest of the Queen, eventually dying in 1852. My grandfather, Mycroft Greystoke, who only met his father three times during his entire life, inherited the title of Earl Grey, the family home (Greyabbots House in Warbucks) and a trust fund to ensure upkeep of said house and a limited standard of living. Of the Greystoke wealth there was no sign and it became known as the Unseen Fortune.”
The fourth Earl paused, a weary, pained look passing over his face.
“I have been searching for my birthright my entire life. It has become an obsession, as it consumed my father before me and I have come to the reluctant conclusion that I must enlist aid if I am to finally, truly, inherit the mantle of the Earl of Grey. As has been widely documented, the old boy was in the advanced stages of syphyllis when he died, continuously ranting about ‘the parrot-people’ attempting to steal his wealth and it was likely this entirely unfounded paranoia that prompted him to hide his fortune. My father was in possession of the first Earl’s King James’ Bible and was convinced that a verse penned in the back of it (seemingly in Grayson’s handwriting) was a bona-fide clue as to the whereabouts of the Unseen Fortune, although possibly the first of many hints as the old lunatic was quite severely unhinged at the end. I am at my wits end. You are all insightful, intelligent leaders in your respective fields. If you can find the Unseen Fortune, I will cede you fully 50% of the treasure. The priceless fortune is everything to me and I am sure you must agree that fifty per cent of everything is quite something.”
And so saying, he handed each of us a photocopy of a short verse written in a spidery, old-fashioned script which read:
I stand erect in wooded glade;
A folly noble Caesar never made.
Cloaked in earth, Maw agape;
A silent moan describes my shape.
Past tongue of stone, step inside;
‘Twixt right back molars do I abide.

Hmm, so where in Hastings fits these criteria?

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