Perhaps in these sad days he looked back regretfully to the glorious visions and promises made him by those angelic visitors inthe years when he and his skryer lived in the Courts of kings and emperors, and were consulted and deferred to as seers and wise men. Even the thoughts of suspicions harboured; of secret and open foes, at home and abroad; the recollection of heart burnings and passionate scenes with the incalculable Kelly, must have seemed dazzlingly brilliant as compared with these grey hopeless years. It is little wonder that he began to seek among his assistants and friends another skryer, through whom he might renew some glimmer of the former days. Mr. Francis Nicholls, who had come to Mortlake in 1593 to learn astrology, seems to have been tried. He was frequently with the Warden, and his daughter Mary stayed for two or three months with the Dees in Manchester on their return from London. She would be a companion in age for Katherine, and the Warden tells how the two girls, his wife and himself, partook of the sacrament together on August 10, 1600. Bartholomew Hickman was more successful as a medium than Mr. Nicholls, and yet at first not always to be trusted. Dee had learned by now to be very discriminating, and he found many of the "reports of sight and hering spirituall," obtained through this skryer, so untrue that he made a bonfire of all the writings on Michaelmas Day, before his wife; Mr. Nicholls; his brother, William Nicholls, and a Mr. Wortley. "A copy of the first part, which was afterward fownd, was burnt before me and my wife." The revelations afterwards transmitted through Bartholomew were not so treated, and were evidently considered by Dee to be genuine messages from the unseen. His visitors left the next day after the Michaelmas bonfire, the Warden accompanying them on foot as far as Deansgate, where they parted. On his return home a surprise awaited the old man.
Dee's servants, many of them, attached themselves to him for life, as we have seen. They, at least, regarded him without suspicion. He was no invoker of devils or conjurer of evil spirits to them. No master could be kinder, more gentle, considerate or more strictly honourable. In whatever straits he found himself, he always contrived to pay, and faithfull record in his diary the payment of, their wages. We have seen how he writes to Sir Edward Dyer of their diet. It will be remembered that one of his early apprentices, Roger Cook, left him after fourteen years, jealous that another man should be admitted to processes from which he was excluded. This was over twenty years ago, nor had his name ever been mentioned in the diary since. Now, Roger Cook reappeared in Manchester, quite unsought, offering and promising
"his faithful and diligent care and help, to the best of his skill and powre, in the processes chymicall, and that he will rather do so than be with any in England; which his promise the Lord blesse and confirm! He told me that Mr. Anthony (his late master) considered him very liberally and frendely, but he told him that he had promised me. Then he liked in him the fidelity of regarding such his promise."
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