Uriel now instructs Dee to write to the Emperor and tell him that he can make the philosopher's stone: in other words, that he can transmute base metal into gold. In the next breath Uriel foretells that Rudolph shall be succeeded by his brother Ernest, for when he sees and possesses gold (which is the thing he desireth, and those that cousel him do also most desire), he shall perish, and his end shall be terrible. Dee shall be brought safely home to England. Uriel used a curious simile, that Dee "shall ascend the hills as the spiders do." Dee, with his knowledge of many sciences, has never shown himself a naturalist, but he here gives us an interesting scrap of natural history. He writes in the margin: "Perhaps spiders flying inthe aire, are carried by strings of their own spinning or making, or else I know not how."
Dee's suit with the Emperor did not much progress. His ministers were naturally envious of this foreigner, and many whispers, as well as louder allegations against the two Englishment, were abroad, although, as San Clemente told him, the Emperor himself was favourable. The Spanish ambassodor was friendly enough, and Dee dined several times at his table. He professed to be descended from Raymond Lully, and, of course, like every educated person of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, was a believer in the virtues of the philosopher's stone. He bade them not regard the Dutchmen's ill tongues, "who can hardly brook any stranger." Dee wrote again to the Emperor a letter of elaborate compliment and praise of vestroe sacrae Coesaraoe Majestatis, in which he offered to come and show him the philosopher's stone and the magic crystal.
Still nothing came of it, and these needy adventurers in a foreign land began to get into deadly straits. "Now were we all brought to great penury: not able without the Lord Laski's, or some heavenly help, to sustain our state any longer." Dee returned from a dinner at the Spanish ambassador's to find Kelly resolved to throw up the whole business and start for England the next day, going first to Cracow to pick up his wife. If she will not go he must set off without her, but go he will. He will sell his clothes and go to Hamburg, and so to England. It is all very well for the spirits to promise spiritual covenants and blessings; but as Kelly said to Uriel, "When will you give us meat, drink and cloathing?"
At this time the women and children did join the party from Cracow, although Dee does not record it in his diary. But on September 27 Dr. Curtius called to see him at his lodging in Dr. Hageck's house by Bethlem, and he says "saluted my wife and little Katherine, my daughter." Dee laid before him some of the slanders that he knew were going about. He had been called at Clemente's table a bankrupt alchemist, a conjuror and necromantist, who had sold his own goods and given the proceeds to Laski, whom he had beguiled, and now he was going to fawn upon the Emperor. Curtius was at last induced to spread before the Emperor his report of the conference he had held (by command) with Dee. "Rudolph," said Curtius, "thinks the things you have told him almost either incredible or impossible. He wants you to show him the books." Then the talk became the learned gossip of a couple of bookish and erudite scholars. Dee produced some rare editions which the others had never seen. Curtius offered the loan of one of his own works, De Superficierum Divisionibus, printed at Pesaro. After this, with mutual courtesies offered on both parts, "after the manner of the world," Curtius took his horse, and returned homeward.
Jane Dee was ailing at this time, and Dee was much distressed.
Gabriel, when consulted, told him that the true medicine is trust
in the God of Hosts and in His Son Christ. "The Lamb of Life
is the true medecine of comfort and consolation." He did,
however, condescend to give a remarkable precription for her use,
concocted of a pint of wheat, a live pheasant cock, eleven ounces
of white amber, and an ounce of red wine, all distilled together.
Dee, though no Christian Scientist, was willing enough to administer
the strange decoction, but says he knows not where or how to get
a cock pheasant. In the spring of the next year, Jane's fourth
child, Michael, was born. He was always rather sickly, and died
when nine years old. Theodore, her fifth child, was only thirteen
when he too died, but all the six other children grew up.
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