Dee's book (which was never printed, but remains in manuscript among the Ashmolean MSS.) was entitled "A Playne discourse and humble advise for our gratious Queene Elizabeth, her most Excellent Majestie, to peruse and consider as concerning the needful Reformation of the Vulgar Kalendar for the civile yeres and daies accompting or verifying, according to the tyme truely spent." It was finished and delivered to Burleigh on February 26, 1583. To him it was inscribed with these rather playful verses: -
I shew the ting and reason why,
At large, in briefe, in middle wise
I humbly give a playne advise;
For want of tyme, the tyme untrew
If I have must, command anew
Your honour may, so shall you see
That love of truth doth govern me."
Burleigh proposed that skilful men in science, as Mr. Digges, be called from the universities to peruse the work and confer. But the Council of State consulted Archbishop Grindal and three of the bishops who recommended the rejection of Dee's scheme, chiefly on the ground that it emanated from Rome, and so their opposition delayed this desirable public reform in England for 170 years. Dee agreed to grant the ten days for the sake of conformity with the rest of the world, if his calculation that eleven were strictly accurate was publicly announced. It will be remembered that in 1742, when the change was made, eleven days were omitted from the calendar.
The household at Cracow now consisted of Mrs. Dee, Arthur, Katherine, Rowland and his nurse, and the mand Mary, Mrs. Kelly and her husband, a servant named John Crocker and a boy. It was augmented before long.
The actions with the spirits soon recommenced. Kelly began very unfairly by trying sittings alone, for he was importunate to know how the Prince was going to treat them as regards money. But he seems only to have drawn reproof and much excellent counsel on himself from Nalvage.
The next few weeks were taken up with instructions from Gabriel and Nalvage, consisting of letters, numbers and words ina strange Eastern or angelic language, to which Dee probably had some key, though they appear unintelligible. The partners were bidden to keep the Sabbath, and Dee resolves to go always to church. Kelly seems to have turned restive once again. On April 17 he declared he would sit no more to receive these A.B.C. messages unless they were better explained. "There is your boy, John," he said; "he can well enough give you these simple signs. You need me no longer. I will be gone." As Casaubon remarks, "he was ever and anon upon projects to break with Dee."
Two days after, Dee heard him come upstairs to his own study,
and called him in. Dee's study was an inner room through one that
opened on to the stairs, at the foot of which was a door. He explained
that he had now a distinct clue to the meaning of the tables of
letters on which he had long been puzzling; dwelt on how essential
it was to miss not a single letter, or else the words would err.
He asked him, in fact, to resume his skrying, and encouraged him
by saying that he knew he "would come to like better this
due and methodical manner of our friends' proceeding," if
only he would continue. Kelly scornfully replied that their teachers
were mere deluders, and no good or sufficient teachers. In two
years they had not made them able to understand, or do anything.
"In two years," he said boastingly, "I could have
learned all the seven liberal arts and sciences, if I had first
learned Logick." He protested he would have no more to do
with the spirits in any manner or way, wished himself in England,
and vowed if the books were his he would burn them all. "These
spiritual creatures are not bound to me. Take John for your skryer."
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