Captain Langham, it is hoped, is going to lend £100; if not, Pontoys will set to work "to win some help for money by distillations and alchemical conclusions." Poverty is again stretching her gaunt fingers over this fond dreamer of gold. He had missed his "silver double gilt bell salt" and many other things from his house. He is "bereaved of his own goods." The truth was that Arthur had secretly taken them away to sell or pawn, in order to provide necessities for the family. Dee has been expecting a sum of money from the Emperor Rudolph, how much he does not know. But Raphael tells him to "let it go and speak no further of it. The Emperor of all emperors will be thy comfort. Thou hast no more need of him [Rudolph], only to keep good will and friendship betwixt him and thee."
Then Raphael fades into the eternal invisible, and the last word of the angelic visions is written.
In the private diary, kept in the almanack from Venice throughout this last year, there is little beside the bare stroke marking the months off into weeks, as was Dee's usual habit. The strokes are continued beyond the month of his death, December, 1608. The last written entry is on December 19, and is almost illegible. It is in the old man's hand and appears to read "tonitrum a Corrfe."
On which day at the death of the old year, Dee's spirit joined those others that had always been so near to him, we do not know, or on what precise date he was buried in the chancel of the church standing so close to the house at Mortlake which had been his home for thirty years. The parish registers for five years are missing, and the stone which Aubrey says marked his grave has long since disappeared.
Fifty years later, John Aubrey talked to Goodwife Faldo, an old
woman of eighty who had known him, and was shown a slab from which
the brass had disappeared. She said that her mother had tended
him in his sickness before he died in his own house inMortlake,
"next the house where the tapestry hangings are made."
Evidently his last days were passed in the cottage which he had
purchased many years before to add to the larger house, inherited
from his mother. The old woman's gossip was interesting to Aubrey,
for he was a grandson of Dee's cousin and neighbour, Dr. William
Aubrey, the Master of Requests who had helped Dee to the Manchester
post. She was full of marvellous stories, of course, for Dee's
reputation for "magic" was impelled to survive him.
But they were harmless stories enough: he had "layed a storm
for Sir Everard Digby"; he had recovered a basket of clothes
which she as a girl, and one of his younger daughters of her own
age, had negligently lost together; he had bidden a butler who
had lost his master's plate on a boat coming down from London
by water to go back on a certain day, and he would see the man
who had taken the wrong basket by exchange: the butler had done
so and had found his plate; he had told a woman that she laboured
under the evil tongue of an ill neighbour; he would not recover
some lost horses, though he was offered several angels. He used
to distil egg-shells, and kept a great many stills going. He had
given and built the gallery to the church at Mortlake, and Goody
Faldo's father was the carpenter that worked on it. "He was
a great peacemaker, and if any of the neighbours fell out, he
would never let them alone till he had made them friends."
"A mighty good man he was."
|Previous page||Table of Contents||Next page|