By April Kelly was once more settled as part of the household, and onthe 4th the crystal gazing was resumed. He professed to hear instructions to Rosenberg, who was present, to build a commonwealth, render tribute to Rudolph, and he shall be Duke of Brandenburg. To himself things are said he is not reluctant to hear. We have seen how almost immediately after his marriage he took a violent dislike to his wife. In the four years, it seems, he had reproached her for giving him no child. To him generation was the root principle of alchemy, and the phase of it in which he centred his attention. It is always the marriage of the red man, copper, and the white woman, mercury, that is to tinge the whole world with gold. Now a voice tells him why he is barren. Not because of his reckless, disordered life, but because she was of his own choosing - the wrong woman! Therefore he is to be seedless and fruitless for ever. Had it not been for the Dees' kindness to her, and especially Jane's, poor neglected Joan Kelly would have had but a sorry time. She was only twenty-four; lively and docile, she seemed to please everyone but her husband. Pucci, with perhaps a little flattery, calls her "rarum exemplum juvenilis sanctitatis, castitatis, atque omnium virtutem." If she had not all the virtues, she at least had several. Her brother, Edmund Cooper, and another friend so loved her that they came over from England a year later on purpose to see if she and her husband could not be more reconciled.
Kelly had been more unsettled than ever, discontented with his wife, with his calling, its results, and above all with his position and his poverty. What was a pittance of £50 a year to a man in constant intercourse with princes and nobles, with credulous fools possessed with dreams of gold? The same qualities that attracted Dee were equally magnetic with others. Laski loved him; Edward Dyer deserted his old friend Dee for this newcomer, a nobody. He had made himself invaluable to Rosenberg, who seems to have had implicit faith in his powers. Rosenberg induces the Emperor to employ him. Had he not already found the secret of projection? Was he not the possessor of the magic powder which waited only for the opportunity to be transformed into countless heaps of ducats? Only money was wanting, and that he could certainly get. But he must first be released from this galling position of medium. He told Dee that all through this Lent he had prayed once a day at least that he might "no more have dealing to skry." At Easter-time he did receive a promise to be set free from the crystal gazing, as he desired, but his wish for freedom was not exactly approved by the angelic ministers.
"Is it a burthen unto thee to be comforted from above? O foolish man! By how much the heavens excel the earth, by so much doth the gift that is given thee excel all earthly treasure. Notwithstanding, thou shalt not at any time hereafter be constrained to see the judgment of the Highest, or to hear the voices of heaven, for thou art a stumbling block to many....And the power which is given thee of seeing shall be diminished in thee, and shall dwell upon the first begotten son of him that sitteth by thee."
The selection of a child as Kelly's successor seems not to have been altogether unexpected. It had been hinted in Prague a year before that a boy would serve for the office; but that the choice would fall upon Dee's own son must have come as a dreadful surprise, at any rate to his mother. No doubt the old man regarded it as a mark of special heavenly honour.
It is mor likely that Jane, with her practical mind, regarded the change of medium with anything but satisfaction. Arthur was now seven and three quarters of a year old, a clever child, already well grounded in Latin, but far too tender in years and disposition to be made the subject of any psychological experiments. Fortunately for him, his skrying was a dismal failure, although it seems to have bent his childish mind towards the occultism he followed in after-life. Distinguished physician as he afterwards become, both at home and in the service of the Emperor of Russia, he was a true son of his father, and maintained to the end of his life a belief in alchemy and transmutation which nothing could shake.
Kelly was desired to initiate the child.
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