Kelly was now about twenty-seven years old, and unmarried. He was bidden by the spirits on April 20 to take a wife, "which thing to do," he told Dee, "I have no natural inclination, neither with a safe conscience may I do it." but Michael had made him swear on his sword to follow his counsel, so he married reluctantly, not long after, Joan, or Johanna, Cooper, of Chipping Norton, who was eight years his junior, and about nineteen.
There was little love on his side apparently, but the girl seems at any rate to have essayed to do her duty as a wife. She was apparently a complete stranger to the Dees, although soon to become part of their household. What were Jane's feelings at the thought of this invasion of her domestic peace we can only guess from an entry in Dee's diary made two days after one of these first sittings. Dee does not write much about his wife in his diary, save only entries relating to her health, and this one he has carefully erased, as if he thought some disloyalty to her was involved in it. It is, however, possible to make it out almost entirely. "1582, 6 May. Jane in a merveylous rage at 8 of the cloke at night, and all that night, and next morning till 8 of the cloke, melancholike and ch[?ided me] terribly for...." Something illegible follows, and then this: "that come to me only honest and lerned men." Finally, "by Mr. Clerkson his help was [?pacified]." What canthis mean save that she had takena violent dislike to, and disapproval of, Kelly; that she mistrusted his honesty and wished they might have no more to do with him; that it was only by his friend Clerkson's help that she was at last quieted? Her woman's intuition was scarcely at fault; however kindly she came to treat her husband's medium afterwards, however charitable she showed herself, she was right in suspecting no good to come to Dee through association with Kelly.
The accounts of the actions with the spirits which took place under Kelly's control were minutely written down by Dee, as we have seen, mostly during the timeof the sittings. The papers had a romantic history. The last thirteen books, which were in Sir Thomas Cotton's library, were printed by Dr. Meric Casaubon about fifty years after Dee's death, under the title of A True and Faithful Relation of what passed for many Yeers between Dr. John Dee, a Mathematician of Great Fame in Q. Elizabeth and K. James their Reigns, and some Spirits: Tending (had it succeeded) To a General Alteration of most States and Kingdomes in the World...With a Preface confirming the reality (as to the Point of Spirits) of this Relation; and shewing the several good Uses that a sober Christian may make of all" (folio 1659). Casaubon in his learned preface maintains stoutly that the visions were no distempered fancy, that Dee acted throughout with all sincerity, but that he was deluded. His book sold with great rapidity; it excited so much controversy, and incurred such disapproval from Owen, Pye, and the other Puritan divines, that it came near being suppressed; only the excellent demand for it prevented its confiscation, for not a copy could be found. The True Relation contains the record of all actions after the beginning of June, 1583. The earlier conversations, from the first with Barnabas, and Talbot's appearance on the scene, are still to be found in manuscript, they having in some way parted company from those of which Cotton had possession.
These earlier papers were acquired by the antiquary, Elias Ashmole,
in a rather romantic way. Ashmole had been visiting William Lilly,
the astrologer, at Horsham, in August, 1672, when on his return
his servant brought him a large bundle of Dee's autograph MSS.
which a few days before he had received from one of the warders
of the Tower. The warder called on Ashmole at the Excise Office,
and offered to give them in exchange for one of Ashmole's own
printed works. The Windsor Herald cheerfully agreed, and sent
him a volume "fairly bound and gilt on the back," of
which of his works we know not.
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