To return to the day of the visit, November 22, 1592. The Queen's Secretary and the Gentleman of her Wardrobe arrived at Mortlake probably in the morning, and stayed to dinner. Having seated them at the tables in the library, Dee read to them, or related with the manuscript at hand, the story of the "halfe hundred" years spent in the attainment of "good learning," which he reckoned from his leaving Chelmsford Grammar School for Cambridge. It was, of course, drawn up with the skill of a pratised author, divided into fourteen chapters, each with an attractive and pithy title. "Her Majesties specially Gracious and very Bountifull favours towards me used etc.," is by far the longest; the shortest is the twelfth: "The Resolution for Generall, very easy, and speedy Remedy in this Rare and Lamentable Case." The remedy he suggests is to make him either Master of St. Cross; Warden of Manchester; Provost of Eton; or Master of Sherborne, one of which posts had been already promised him four times in three years. The tenth chapter is "The hard making of provision for some hundred pounds [?a year] for the maintenance of me, my wife, our children and family for these three last years, and that but with a meane dyet and simple apparel: I having not one Peny of certaine Fee, revenue, stipend or Pension, either left me, or restored unto me, or of any yet bestowed on me." He shows how at his return three years before, he found himself penniless; cut off for ever from his two parsonages; disappointed as yet of the large yearly allowance promised him for his life from Bohemia. Probably on parting from the then affluent Kelly, some bond was entered into by him or by Rosenberg to transmit to him a share of the enormous profits they expected from the multiplication of the gold. "To save us from hunger starving," he had had to appeal to friends, and he records gratefully that some who had been unfriendly before he left came to his aid on his return. They "put to" their helping hands in many ways, and alredy he had received from them a sum of £500 and more. Yet he has had to pawn his plate little by little until all was gone. "After the same manner went my wife's jewels of gold, rings, bracelets, chaines and other our rarities, under the thraldom of the userer's grips, till non plus was written upon the boxes at home." He has borrowed upon sureties, upon his personal bill of hand, upon his word, upon his promise, and he has run up accounts, so that now he is in debt for £333, beyond the £500. "The true accounts of all these gifts, loans, and debts upon score, talley, or book, is here before your Honours;" how the usurer devoureth him and how he is "dayly put to shame, may be seen." Other necessary expenses amounted to £267, so that he has spent but £566 in three years for housekeeping," and that with great parsimony, and with gifts from good friends of "wine, whole brawnes, sheep, wheat, pepper, nutmegg, ginger, sugar, etc., and other things for the apparel of me, my wife and our children." He has mortgaged his house for £400, and now will have to sell it for half it cost to pay his debts, he and his family to become wanderers and homeless vagabonds, furnished only with bottles and wallets. What shall he do, he pitifully begs, that he may prevent his name being handed down to posterity as a warning to lovers and students of truth not to follow in his steps and be given to such disgraceful shifts and indignities? He ends with a passage of true eloquence:
"Therefore, seeing the blinded Lady, Fortune, doth not govern in this commonwealth, but justitia and prudentia, and that in better order thanin Tully's Republica, or Books of Offices, they are laid forth to be followed and performed: most reverently and earnestly (yea, in manner with bloody teares of heart), I and my wife, our seaven children and our servants (seaventeene of us in all), doe this day make our petition unto your Honours that upon all godly, charitable and just respects had of all that you have this day seene, heard, and perceived, you will make such report unto her most excellent Majestie (with humble request for speedy reliefe), that we be not constrained to do or suffer otherwise than becometh Christian and true faithfull obedient subjects to do or suffer. And all for want of due mainteynance."
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