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John Dee


John Dee was an eminent Elizabethan mathematician and astrologer. His studies into the Occult took him abroad on many occasions, and this has added weight to the suspicion that he was also a secret government agent (code name 007). He was employed teaching navigation to Naval Captains for 30 years, but is most well known for his active involvement in occult thought and practice.Dee was born near London on the 13th of July 1527. His father was a gentleman server in the court of King Henry VIII. John claimed to be a descendant of Roderick the Great, a Prince of Wales.

John Dee, seatedJohn Dee, seatedIn 1542 at the age of 15, Dee entered Cambridge College and graduated in 1544 with a BA. In 1546 he was made a fellow of Trinity College, and appointed the role of Greek underwriter. 1547 found Dee visiting the Holland and France, mixing with some of the key members of academic society. He was living in Louvain by 1548. Dee spent a few months lecturing geometry in Paris, and declined the offer of a permanent appointment in Sorbonne. He also taught at both Louvain and Brussels Universities. Returning to England in 1551, he was given the job of teaching navigation and mathematics to Naval Captains.

During the reign of Queen Mary Tudor (Bloody Mary), Dee was arrested and accused of attempting to kill her with sorcery. He was imprisoned in Hampton Court in 1553. The reason behind his imprisonment may have been a horoscope that he cast for Elizabeth, Mary's sister and heiress to the throne. The horoscope was to ascertain when Mary would die. He was finally released in 1555 after being set free and re-arrested on charges of heresy. In 1556 Queen Mary gave him a full pardon.

Queen Elizabeth succeeded her sister in 1558, and Dee found a new era of prosperity, he was even commissioned to predict the best astrological time for her coronation. Unfortunately the rumours about his diabolical dealings still persisted, and were to plague him all through his life. During this time he again began to travel, and it is rumoured that he even got as far as St Helena.

Monas Hieroglyphica: created and considered by Dee to be the ultimate symbol of Occult knowledgeMonas Hieroglyphica: created and considered by Dee to be the ultimate symbol of Occult knowledgeIn 1564 one of his many books dealing with Occult matters, The Monas Hieroglyphica was published, the Monas Hieroglyphica is a symbol created by Dee, which he believed was the ultimate symbol of Occult knowledge. The following year he published Di Trigono.

It is noted that Dee was approached for consultancy when a new star was discovered in 1572, and in 1577 Queen Elizabeth asked Dee about the possible portents of a comet that had been observed.

He began his experiments in trying to contact discarnate entities in 1581, mainly fuelled by strange dreams, feelings and mysterious noises within his home. On 25 May 1582 he recorded that he had made his first contact with the spirit world, through the medium of his crystal ball. This had taken Dee years of work to achieve, through studying the occult, alchemy and crystallomancy. Spirit contact would prove to be a major driving force behind Dee for the rest of his life.

Dee found contacting the spirits tiring, and started to employ gifted scryers so that he would be free to make extensive notes on the communications received. Dee had been working with a scryer called Barnabas Saul, until he had experienced some disturbing encounters, and could no longer see nor hear beings from the other realm, so in March 1582 Dee started to search for a work colleague.

Edward Kelly, who was 27 seemed to fit the bill perfectly, however he was a gifted con artist and continued to fool Dee many years to come. Kelly's ears had been cropped for forgery, and he is supposed to have dug up a corpse in Walton le Dale, Lancashire for necromancy, an event often wrongly attributed to Dee.

In November 1582 they encountered an Angel, Uriel. The Angel gave instructions for a magical talisman with which they could contact the spirit world more easily. Many of their ritual objects including Dee's obsidian scrying mirror are now in the British Museum.

Kelly would continuously make new discoveries that amazed Dee, and he introduced him to the fact that both good and evil spirits existed beyond the veil. It was around this time that Dee started using the mysterious Enochian script to communicate with the Angels. Called the language of angels it is definitely a structured language, although its real origins are obscure. Whatever its origins people who have worked with Enochain magic have claimed that it does seem to work.

As the claims of Kelly and his abilities grew, the pair's fame flourished, even in continental Europe. With fame came a source of income, which Dee used to fund his experiments into metal transmutation. Dee also claimed to have found the 'Elixir Vitae' (The alchemical elixir of life or philosophers stone) hidden in the ruins of Glastonbury Abbey.

The Polish Albert Laski, Count Palatire of Siradz, descendant of the Anglo-Norman Lacies, came to England in search of Dee and Kelly. He was duped by Edward Kelly and his scrying ability, into believing great things were meant him. Indeed a great many messages were received from the Spirit realm concerning Laski, Kelly, Dee, and European politics.

In 1583 Dee and Kelly convinced Laski to return to Poland, taking the two Englishmen and their wives with him. They set about trying to transmute iron into gold to fund their regeneration of Europe. Although they were always just on the brink of success, the experimental transmutation experiments never worked.

While Dee was away in Europe things were not boding well at home. In 1583 a large mob attacked Dee's home in at Mortlake in Surrey destroying his collection of books, occult instruments and personal belongings. The attack was probably in response to rumours that Dee was a wizard.

Meanwhile back in Poland Kelly and Dee's experiments proved very costly, Laski lost his fortune and lands funding the two alchemists work, and when it became apparent that he could no longer afford to continue paying for their experiments, the spirits, including Uriel, expressed their doubts through Kelly that Laski may not have been the right man to bring about the changes in Europe.

To ease his financial burden, Laski offered to pay for the pair to visit Prague, and provided a letter of introduction to Emperor Rudolph II. Amazingly this offer coincided with a command from the spirits via Kelly, urging Dee to deliver a divine message to the Emperor. They arrived in Prague in 1586 to courteous welcome from Emperor Rudolph II, who became intrigued with the idea of the Philosophers Stone. Their stay was cut short after a few months when the Pope demanded that the Emperor should dismiss them, either that or they should be imprisoned or burned at the stake.

After living for a while on the streets of Krakow as fortune-tellers, they managed to convince King Stephen of Poland that he would be the one to assassinate Emperor Rudolph and replace him. Stephen soon grew tired of their constant demands for money, and diverted their attention to Count Rosenberg, who allowed them to live and work within his castle. Two years later their experiments had still not made any further progress.

The two Englishmen started to argue when Kelly decided that he would like to taste the carnal pleasures of Dee's young wife. Dee should not have been surprised when the spirits, communicating through Kelly told him that they wished the pair to share their wives. As this was a command from God, it would not be sinful. Dee grew convinced that Kelly was being contacted by evil spirits, and after another huge argument the pair parted company.

Dee failed to make a scryer out of his son, Arthur, and started to feel the absence of regular other world contact. He was so happy when Kelly returned that he agreed obey the wish of God and share their wives. The two wives were hesitant at first but eventually obeyed God's word, and by May 1587 Kelly was sharing Dee's wife.

This was never a suitable situation and the arrangement took its toll on all of them. When Dee was given permission by Queen Elizabeth I to return to England in 1589 he did so, leaving Kelly behind. At Mortlake Dee continued his studies with another two scryers, both charlatans. Dee was appointed the Chancellorship of St Paul's Cathedral by the Queen, and in 1595 swapped this for the Wardenship of Manchester College. He retired from this post in 1603 when he returned to Mortlake to continue his fortune telling.

Kelly was killed in 1595 whilst trying to escape from prison in Prague. He climbed out of a high window and fell to his death.

Dee was being accused of being a wizard in 1604, and had to petition King James I for protection. Dee died in poverty at Mortlake in 1608 aged 81 years.

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Dr John Dee - Traditions Of Lancashire (1872) by John Roby

"Dark was the vaulted room of gramarye
To which the wizard led the gallant knight,
Save that before a mirror huge and high
A hallowed taper shed a glimmering light
On mystic implements of magic might;
On cross, and character, and talisman,
And almagest and altar, nothing bright;
For fitful was the lustre, pale and wan,
As watch-light by the bed of some departing man."
—Lay of the Last Minstrel.

The character of Dee, our English "Faust," as he is not inaptly called, has both been misrepresented and misunderstood. An enthusiast he undoubtedly was, but not the drivelling dotard that some of his biographers imagine. A man of profound learning, distinguished for attainments far beyond the general range of his contemporaries, he, like Faustus, and the wisest of human kind, had found out how little he knew; had perceived that the great ocean of truth yet lay unexplored before him. Pursuing his inquiries to the bound and limit, as he thought, of human knowledge, and finding it altogether "vanity," he had recourse to forbidden practices, to experiments through which the occult and hidden qualities of nature and spirit should be unveiled and subdued to his own will.

Evidently prompted to unhallowed intercourse by pride and ambition, he deluded himself with the vain and wicked hope that the God who spurned his impious requests would vouchsafe to him a new and peculiar revelation. He would not bow to the plain and humbling tenets already revealed, but sought another "sign,"—a miraculous testimony to himself alone. Fancying that he was entrusted with a divine mission, he was given up to strong delusions that he should believe a lie. He aimed at universal knowledge and exhaustless riches; but he died imbecile and a beggar!

That he was deceived by Kelly, there is no doubt; and that he was sincere, at least in seeking his own promotion and aggrandisement, is equally certain; but we would rescue his character from the ridicule with which it has been invested. His grasp was greater than his power, and he fell, like heroes and conquerors in all ages, unable to execute, and overwhelmed with the vastness of his own conceptions.

John Dee was born July 13, 1527, in London. His parents were in good circumstances. At an early age (fifteen years) he studied at St John's College, Cambridge. His application was intense. For three years, by his own account, he only slept four hours every night. Two hours were allowed for meals and recreation, and the rest was spent in learning and devotion. Five years afterwards he went into the Low Countries, for the purpose of conversing with Frisius, Mercator, and others. Returning to Cambridge, he was chosen a fellow of Trinity College, then founded by Henry the Eighth. His reputation stood very high, and his astronomical pursuits, in those days generally connected with astrology, drew upon him the imputation of being a conjuror, which character clung to him through life. This opinion was much strengthened by an accident which, he says, happened soon after his removal from St John's College, and his being chosen a fellow of Trinity. "Hereupon," he continues, "I did set forth a Greek comedy of Aristophanes, named in Greek Ἑιρηνη with the performance of the Scarabæus, or beetle—his flying up to Jupiter's palace with a man and his basket of victuals on her back; whereat was great wondering, and many vain reports spread abroad of the means how that was effected."

He left England again soon afterwards, distinguishing himself at several foreign universities, and attracting the notice of many persons of high rank, amongst which were the Duke of Mantua and Don Lewis de la Cerda (afterwards Duke of Medina Celi). In 1551 he returned to England, being well received by King Edward and his court. A pension of one hundred crowns per annum was granted him, which he afterwards exchanged for the rectory of Upton-upon-Severn.

In Queen Mary's reign he was accused of some correspondence with the Lady Elizabeth's servants, and of practising against the Queen's life by enchantments. He was seized and confined, but acquitted of the charge. He was then turned over to Bonner, to see if heresy might not be found in him. After a tedious prosecution he was set at liberty, August 19, 1555, by an order of the council.

Upon Queen Elizabeth's accession he was consulted as to a fit day for the coronation, and received many splendid promises of preferment, which were never realised.

In the spring of the year 1564, he made another journey abroad, when he presented to the Emperor Maximilian his book, entitled "Monas Hieroglyphica," printed at Antwerp the same year. He returned to England in the summer, producing several learned works, which showed his extraordinary skill in the mathematics.

In 1571 he went to Lorraine, where, falling very ill, he was honoured with the solicitude of the Queen, who sent two of her physicians, and gave him many other proofs of her regard. Upon his return to England he now settled himself in his own house at Mortlake in Surrey, where he collected a noble library, and prosecuted his studies with great diligence. His collection is said to have consisted of more than four thousand books, nearly a fourth part of them manuscripts, which were afterwards dispersed and lost. This library, and a great number of mathematical and mechanical instruments, were destroyed by the fury of the populace in 1583, who, believing him to be a conjuror, and one that dealt with the devil, broke into his house, and tore and destroyed the fruit of his labours during the forty years preceding.

On the 16th March 1575, Queen Elizabeth, attended by many of her court, visited Dr Dee's house to see his library; but having buried his wife only a few hours before, he could not entertain her Majesty in the way he wished. However, he brought out a glass, the properties of which he explained to his royal mistress, hoping to wipe off the aspersion, under which he had long laboured, of being a magician.

In 1578 her Majesty being indisposed, Dee was sent abroad to consult with some German physicians about the nature of her complaint. But that part of his life in which he was most known to the world commenced in 1581, when his intercourse began with Edward Kelly. This man pretended to instruct him how to obtain, by means of certain invocations, an intercourse with spirits. Soon afterwards there came to England a Polish lord, Albert Laski, palatine of Siradia, a person of great learning. He was introduced to Dee by the Earl of Leicester, who was now the doctor's chief patron. Becoming acquainted, Laski prevailed with Dee and Kelly to accompany him to his own country. They went privately from Mortlake, embarking for Holland, from whence they travelled by land through Germany into Poland. On the 3d February 1584, they arrived at the castle of their patron, where they remained for some time.

They afterwards visited the Emperor Rodolphe at Prague. On the 17th April 1585, Laski introduced them to Stephen, king of Poland, at Cracow; but this prince treating them very coolly, they returned to the emperor's court at Prague, from whence they were banished at the instigation of the Pope's nuncio, who represented them as magicians.

The doctor and his companion afterwards found an asylum in the Castle of Trebona, belonging to Count William, of Rosenberg, where they lived in great splendour for a considerable time. It was said that Kelly had succeeded in procuring the powder of projection, by which they were furnished with money in profusion; but on referring to the doctor's diary, we find the miserable tricks and shifts they resorted to for the purpose of keeping up appearances. Kelly, however, it seems, learned many secrets from the German chemists, which he did not communicate to his patron; and the heart-burnings and jealousies that arose between them at length ended in an absolute rupture.

The fame of their adventures was noised through Europe, and Elizabeth, in consequence, invited Dee home. He was now separated from Kelly, and on the 1st of May 1589, he set out on his return to England. He travelled with great pomp, was attended by a guard of horse, and besides waggons for his goods, had no less than three coaches for the use of his family. He landed at Gravesend on the 23d of November, and on the 9th of December was graciously received at Richmond by the Queen. He found his house at Mortlake had been pillaged, but he collected the scattered remains of his library, and was so successful, by the assistance of his friends, as to recover about three-fourths of his books, estimating his loss at about £400, He had many friends, and received great presents, but was always craving and in want. The Queen sent him money from time to time, promising him two hundred angels at Christmas. One-half he received, but he gave a broad hint that the Queen and himself were defrauded of the rest. He now resolved to apply for some settled subsistence, and sent a memorial by the Countess of Warwick to her Majesty, earnestly requesting that commissioners might be appointed to hear his pretensions and decide upon his claims. Two commissioners were accordingly sent to Mortlake, where Dee showed them a book containing a distinct account of all the memorable transactions of his life, except those which occurred in his Jast journey abroad. He detailed to them the injuries, damages, and indignities which he had suffered, and humbly supplicated reparation at their hands. The Queen, in consequence, sent 100 marks to Mrs Dee, and promises to her husband. At length, on December 8th, 1594, he obtained a grant of the chancellorship of St Paul's. But this did not answer his expectations, upon which he applied to Whitgift, Archbishop of Canterbury, giving an account of all the books he had either written or published. This, with other applications, led to his being presented with the wardenship of Manchester College, vacant by the removal of Dr William Chaderton to the see of Chester. On the 14th of February 1596, he arrived with his family in that town, and on the 20th he was installed in his new charge. He continued here about seven years, passing his time in a very turbulent and unquiet manner. On the 5th of June 1604, he presented a petition to King James, earnestly desiring that he might be brought to trial and delivered, by a judicial sentence, from those suspicions which his astrological and other inquiries had brought upon him. But the King, knowing the nature of his studies, was very far from showing him any mark of his favour. In November, the same year, he quitted Manchester, returning to his house at Mortlake, where he died, old, infirm, and forsaken of his friends, being very often obliged to sell some book or other to procure a dinner. The following account of Dr Dee's expenses from Trebona to London, copied from a statement in his own handwriting,[19] we have thought too curious to omit:—

"The charges of my last return from beyond seas, A. 1589, being favourably called home by her Majestie from Trebon Castle in Bohemia.

600 lib.

"My journey of remove homeward from Trebon Castle to Staden cost me more than 3000 dollars, which we account

120 lib.

"Besides the cost of 15 horses wherewith I travelled all that journey; of which the 12 which drew my 3 coaches were very good and young Hungarian horses, and the other three were Wallachies for the saddles: which 15 cost with one another

60 lib.

"The three new coaches made purposely for my aforesaid journey, with the furniture for the 12 coach-horses, and with the saddles and bridles for the rest, cost more than 3 score pounds

"The charge of wains to carry my goods from Trebon to Staden, they being two and sometimes three (for more easy and light passage in some places), cost above an hundred and ten pounds, which I account (for an hundred of it) under my former sum of 600 lib. Under which 600 lib. also I do account for the charges of the 24 soldiers, well appointed, which, by virtue of the emperor's passport, I took up in my way from Diepholt, and again from Oldenburgh; the charges of the six harquebusiers and musqueteers, which the Earl of Oldenburgh lent me out of his own garrison there: I gave to one with another a dollar a man for the day, and their meat and drink full. For at the first, 18 enemies, horsemen, well appointed, from Lingen and Wilstrusen, had lain five days attending thereabout, to have sett upon me and mine; and at Oldeborch, a Scot (one of the garrison) gave me warning of an ill-minded company lying and hovering for me in the way which I was to pass, as by a letter may appear here present. Of the former danger, the Landgrave of Hesse his letters unto me may give some evidence.

"The charges of the four Swart Ruiters, very well mounted, and appointed to attend on me at Staden, from Breme, being honourably and very carefully sent unto me by the noble consuls and senators of Breme, and that with a friendly farewell (delivered unto me by the speech of one of their secretaries at my lodgings) need not be specified here what it was. For their going with me in two days to Staden, their abode there, and as much homeward, being in all five days' charges, 30 dollars.

"This was a very dangerous time to ride abroad in thereabouts, as the merchants of Staden can well remember. The excellent learned theologian, the superintendent of Breme, Mr D. Chrystopher Berzelius his verses, printed the night before that of my going from Breme, and the morning of my departure, openly delivered to me partly, and partly distributed to the company of students and others attending about to see us set forth, and to bid us farewell, may be a memorial of some of my good credit grown in that city, and of the day of my coming from it.

"I will not enlarge my lines to specific what other charges I was at to further some of her Majestie's servants at my lying at Breme; as 70 dollars given or lent to one Conradus Justus Newbrenner; and about 40 given to gett some letters of great importance brought to our sovereign's honorable privy council in due time.

10 lib.

"The charge of my fraught and passage from Staden to London for my goods, myself, my wife, children, and servants

796 lib.

"So that the sum total of money, spent and laid out, in and for my remove from Trebon to London doth amount to

1510 lib.

"Whereby the whole sum of the former damages and losses

796 lib.

"And the removing charges doth amount (with the least) to

2306 lib.

"Besides the 100 dollars disbursed at Breme for dutiful love to Queen and country."

One minor occurrence in the following tradition—viz., the loss of the horse—is related by Lilly as happening to another of the fraternity; but we claim it—upon grounds too trivial it might be deemed by some—for the "Doctor." It is not our intention to spoil a good story by rejecting what we cannot verify. Sufficient for us that the tale exists; though we take the liberty of telling it in our own way.

There came a thin spare man one evening to Dr Dee's residence in the college at Manchester, where he then dwelt by permission only from the Earl of Derby, though living there in the capacity of warden to the church.

The college being dissolved in the first of Edward VI. (1547), the possessions fell into the hands of that nobleman, who, however, kept ministers at his own charge to officiate in the church. Mary refounded the establishment, restoring the greater part of the lands, but Lord Derby still kept the college house. In 1578 Elizabeth granted a new foundation to the college, appointing her own wardens. Dr Dee, being the third on the new establishment, was installed with great solemnity on the 20th February 1596.

The visitor we have just noticed was muffled in a dark cloak, having a wide and ample collar, which he threw over his head, as though anxious for concealment. The Doctor, having retired into his study, was not to be disturbed; but the stranger was urgent for admission, while Lettice Gostwich, Dee's help-at-all-work, a pert ungracious slattern, was fully resolved not to permit his access to her master.

"Then since nothing else will do," said the pertinacious intruder, "convey me this message—to wit, a stranger comes to him on business of great moment regarding his own welfare and that of the matter or event whose corollarium he is now studying."

Lettice, wearied through his importunity, and hoping by compliance to rid herself from these solicitations, went to the Doctor's private chamber, where, having delivered her message through the thumb-hole of the latch—for on no account would he allow of personal intrusion—to her great surprise, he bade her be gone.

"Show the stranger up-stairs," said he. "Why hast thou kept him so long tarrying?"

Lettice, with little speed and less good-will, obeyed the Doctor's behest, grumbling loud at the capricious and uncertain humours of her master.

The visitor was at length ushered into the presence of this celebrated scholar and professor of the celestial sciences, whose predictions at one period astonished Europe; his presence, like some portentous comet, threatening war and disaster, perplexing even emperors and princes, and filling them with apprehension and dismay. But Dee was somewhat fallen from this high and dangerous celebrity. He was become querulous and ill-tempered. Never satisfied with his present condition, but always aiming at some greater thing, he generally contrived to lose what he already possessed. At one time, to control the destinies and acquire the supreme direction of affairs, either as the High Priest or the Grand Lama of Europe, was not beyond the compass of his thoughts or the scope of his ambition. Now, he was petitioning the Queen for a small increase to his worldly pittance, and an opportunity of clearing himself before her Majesty's council from the foul and slanderous accusations by which he was continually assailed. Yet he had not abandoned his former projects. Though failing in his mission aforetime to the Emperor of Germany, the King of Poland, and others, to whom he evidently went for political purposes, and with offers of his aid, through the foreknowledge and spiritual intercourse by which he thought himself favoured, yet he still cherished the hope of promotion by such visionary follies. That chimera of the imagination, the invention of the philosopher's stone, still haunted him, and he did not yet despair of one day becoming a ruler among princes, the supreme arbiter and depositary of the fate of nations.

The delusions imposed on him by Kelly, his seer and confederate, had so impressed him with this belief, that he still purposed going abroad on a divine mission, as he called it, and only awaited the auspicious time when his spiritual instructors should point out another seer in Kelly's room, from whom he had been long separated. Though now in his seventy-first year, he was not deterred from making another attempt to reach the goal of his ambition. Such is the folly and madness of these enthusiasts, that, let them be never so often foiled in their inordinate expectations, yet does it in no wise hinder, but, on the contrary, sets them more fully on their desire. Casaubon, in his preface to the account of Dee's intercourse with spirits, gives a strange instance of their infatuation. He says:—

"In the days of Martin Luther, there lived one Michael Stifelius, who applying to himself some place of the Apocalypse, took upon himself to prophesy. He foretold that in the year of the Lord 1533, before the 29th of September, the end of the world and Christ's coming to judgment would be. He did show so much confidence that, some write, Luther himself was somewhat startled at the first. But that day past, he came a second time to Luther, with new calculations, and had digested the whole business into twenty-two articles, the effect of which was to demonstrate that the end of the world would be in October following. But now Luther thought that he had had trial enough, and gave so little credit to him, that he (though he loved the man) silenced him for a time, which our apocalyptical prophet took very ill at his hands, and wondered much at his incredulity. Well, that month and some after that over, our prophet (who had made no little stir in the country by his prophesying) was cast into prison for his obstinacy. After a while Luther visited him, thinking by that time to find him of another mind; but so far was he from acknowledging his error, that he downright railed at Luther for giving him good counsel. And some write, that to his dying day (having lived to the age of eighty years) he never recanted."

These air-built hopes and projects may in some sort account for the readiness with which Dee admitted the stranger after hearing his message. It seemed to be the very echo of his own thoughts, floating on their dark current, which it quickened by some unknown and mysterious impulse.

The Doctor was sitting in a high and curiously-wrought chair, cushioned with black leather, gilt and ornamented after the antique fashion. His upper garment was of black serge, the neck and breast furred with sables. A cap of the same materials concealed his bald and shining head, giving his pale shrivelled features a peculiar look of learning and hard study. His face was long, and his beard pointed. Age and anxiety were indelibly marked upon his lank visage; but his eye was yet undimmed; small, keen, and restless, it seemed the image of his own insatiable desire, consuming soul and body in the fire and fervour of its inordinate and uncontrolled appetite.

"Thy name?" said Dee sharply, as the stranger bowed himself before the reputed magician.

"Bartholomew Hickman."

"And thy business?" inquired the Doctor, with an inquisitive glance.

"Since your reverence hath dismissed Kelly, you have been but indifferently served in the capacity of seer; mine errand is to this purport:—If we agree for wages, I will serve you; and I doubt not but my faculty of seeing will equal that of Master Kelly, provided you have a glass whose quality and virtue shall be equivalent."

"My glass," replied the Doctor, "is not to be matched throughout the world. Even Cornelius Agrippa had not its like; nor was his famous mirror fit to compare with it. Hast heard aught of its history?"

"I would listen, Master Dee, for my knowledge thereof is but gathered from the vulgar report."

"Know then," said Dee, with an air of great pride and complacency, "that my stone was brought by the ministration of angels, in answer to fervent and oft-repeated prayer. One night, as I sate with Kelly, discoursing on the rise and fall of empires, the setting up and the downfall of estates, and many other matters of grave and weighty import, he looked uneasy for a while, saying that he felt a strange sensation, and, as it were, a heavy weight on his right shoulder, as though something sat there. He said a spirit, invisible at that time, was in all likelihood hearkening to our discourse, and wished to communicate with us. He then spake as though to some one behind him, and listened—'Sayest thou so' said he; 'then will I speedily apprise the Doctor.' He then told me it was the angel Uriel, who would bring us a wonderful glass or crystal, whereby a seer, properly gifted, would be enabled to see many wonderful things; but this surprising faculty I do not possess, by reason of a fiery sign not occupying the cusp of my ascendant and medium cosli. Edward Kelly was, however, permitted to supply this defect, and I might confidently rely, he said, on the truth of those revelations, which I was to note down for the benefit of mankind, and the establishing of a new dispensation upon the earth. None but good angels could enter into this glass, and they would teach me, as he then foretold, many things, whereby, gaining great honour and renown, kings and princes should be reproved of me, who was raised up for their sakes. At this revelation I was exceeding glad, and more so on finding the day following in my study this precious gem, which, as I once told the Emperor Rodolph, is of such value that no earthly kingdom is worthy to be 'compared to the virtue or dignity thereof. I well remember the time," said Dee, delighting to dwell on these recollections: "I was at Prague, the emperor having sent for me; I went up to the castle, where, in the Ritterstove, or guard chamber, I stayed a little; Octavius Spinola, that was the chamberlain, saluted me very courteously, having understood that I was he whom the emperor waited for. Returning to the privy-chamber, he came out again, leading me by the skirt through the dining-chamber and the privy-chamber, where the emperor sat at a table with a great chest and standish of silver, and my book and letters before him. Then craved I pardon, at his Majesty's hand, for my boldness in sending him my 'Monas Hieroglyphica,' dedicated to his father; but I did it of the sincere and entire good-will that I bare to his father Maximilian, and also unto his Majesty. He then thanked me very kindly, saying that he knew of my great endowments, and the esteem I had gotten of the learned; of this he had been informed by the Spanish ambassador. He said my book was rather too hard for his capacity; but he heard I had something to say to him, Quod esset pro sua utilitate. 'And so I have,' I replied, looking back to see first that we were alone. Hereupon, I began to declare how all my lifetime had been spent in learning, and with great pains and cost I had come to the best knowledge that man might attain to in this world. I had found, too, that no man living, neither any book, was able to teach me those truths that I desired and longed for. Therefore I concluded within myself to make intercession and prayer to the Giver of all wisdom to send unto me knowledge, whereby I might know the nature of His creatures, and also enjoy means to use them to His honour and glory. At length it pleased God to send me His light—the angel Uriel, whereby I was assured of His merciful and gracious answer. For the space of two years and a half, as I told his Majesty, angels had not ceased to minister unto me through this wonderful stone, whose history I related. Furthermore, I said that I had a message from them unto his, Majesty. 'The angel of the Lord hath appeared unto me,' I cried, 'and hath rebuked you for your sins; if you will hear, and believe me, you shall triumph; if you will not hear, the Lord, the God of heaven and earth, under whom you breathe and have your being, putteth His foot against your breast, and will throw you headlong from your seat.' Moreover, I said that if he would listen to me, and take me for his counsellor, his kingdom should be established, so that there would be none like unto it throughout the world. I was commanded, likewise, to show him the nature of the holy vision, and the manner thereof, which he might witness, and hear the words, though he could not see the fashion of the creatures in the glass. He thanked me, and said that he would thenceforward take me to his recommendation and care. Some more promises he used, though I could not well understand them, he spake so low. Perceiving, now, that he wished to make an end for this time, I made my obeisance and departed. But mark the favour of princes!—through the cabals of some, and the intrigues of his favourite and physician, one Doctor Curtz, who was fearful of my displacing him,—in the end I was not only prevented from further access to his Majesty, but banished the empire! Go to, go to," said Dee, much troubled at these thoughts, "I am something too much affected of these vain impressions, and the pomp of these earthly ones."

He arose, lifting an ebony cabinet on the table, which he unlocked with great solemnity. During this operation he fell to muttering many prayers; and with an air of great reverence he took out a richly-embossed casket, which being opened, there was displayed a fair crystal of an egg-shaped form, on which he gazed with a long and silent delight.

"A treasure beyond all price," said Bartholomew, eyeing it with rapture.

"Even so," said Dee, "and, by the grace of the Giver, I do hope to profit by it. Once it was removed from me. Listen. It was in the little chapel, or oratory, next the chambers which Lord William of Rosenberg had allotted us in his castle at Trebona. I had set the stone in its wonted place upon the table, or altar as we called it, when Kelly saw a great flame in the stone, which thing though he told me, I made no end of my usual prayer. But suddenly one seemed to come in at the south window of the chapel, right opposite to Kelly, while the stone was heaved up without hands, and set down again; wonderful to behold. After which I saw the man who came in at the window; he had his lower parts in a cloud, and, with open arms, flew towards Kelly; at which sight he shrunk back, and the creature took up between both hands the stone with its frame of gold, and mounted up the way he came. Kelly caught at it, but could not touch it; thereupon he was grievously alarmed, and had the tremor cordis for a good while after.[20] This my angelical stone being taken away, I was mightily troubled, for the other stones in my possession being made through man's skill and device, I had not a safe warranty of their virtue, so that I might confidently trust in what they should disclose. I was afraid, too, of the intrusion of wicked spirits into them, who might impose on me with their delusions. This happened on a Friday, being the 24th of April 1587, as I find it recorded in my diary. But mark the manner of its return! The following month, on the 22d day, and on the same day of the week, about four hours post meridian, as I and Kelly were walking out through the orchard, down the river-side, he saw two little men fighting there furiously with swords; and one said to the other, 'Thou hast beguiled me.' As I drew near they did not abate their heat, but the fray seemed to wax even hotter than before. I at length said, 'Good friends, let me take up the matter between you;' whereupon they stayed, the elder of them saying, 'I sent a present to thy wife, and this fellow hath taken it away,' With this, they again fought until the other was wounded in his thigh, which seemed to bleed. Being in great pain, he took out of his bosom something that I guessed to be the very treasure that I had lost. 'Now will I make thee return it,' said the first speaker; with that the other, who was wounded, seemed to go suddenly out of sight, but came again ere I could answer a word. The elder of them then asked him, saying, 'Hast thou laid it under the right pillow of the bed where he lay yesternight?' With these words they both went towards a willow-tree on the right, by the new stairs, which tree seemed to cleave open, and as they went in it closed, and I never saw them more. With great haste I returned to my chamber, where, lifting up the right pillow, I found my precious stone; being greatly rejoiced, together with my wife, who joined me in thanking God for its return."

"An exceeding comfortable and gracious providence: being preserved, I doubt not, from the evil ones," said Bartholomew Hickman. "But I would fain give you a sample of my skill, if so be that you will prepare the crystal, charging it with due care and attention."

Then did the Doctor betake himself to the performance of sundry strange rites, consisting of many absurd forms and hard speeches, ever and anon ejaculating a fervent prayer for success, and a petition against doubt and deception. He spread a fair carpet on the table, disposing the candlesticks on each side, and a little behind the crystal. This was placed upon a cushion of black silk, a crucifix near, and the psalter before it, open at the service for the departed. After a profound silence for about the space of half an hour, Dee looked towards his visitor as if expecting that he should begin. The seer threw off his upper garment, and kneeling down, clad only in a short tunic of gray cloth, without ruff or belt, he betook himself, though with some agitation, to the repeating of a few short Latin prayers, intermingled with cabalistical jargon, and scraps of some unknown and uncouth tongue. The Doctor gave special heed thereto, hearkening as though not over-credulous in the boasted skill of his visitor. Presently the latter put his face close to the stone, binding it before his eyes with a white napkin, his head still resting on the table. Dee asked him softly, "What seest thou?"

"Nothing," said Bartholomew.

"Is the curtain not yet visible in the stone?"

"I cannot even see the curtain," replied the seer; "for all is dark."

Then Dee began to pray earnestly that some of his former friends might appear, whom he called by many outlandish names, such as Ave, Nalvage, Madini, and others. Immediately Bartholomew cried out—

"I see a glimmer!—Soft!"

The Doctor scarcely durst breathe, fearing to interrupt the opening of the vision.

"I see a golden curtain, partly drawn aside."

"The charge beginneth to work," said Dee. "'Tis the very appearance that was always vouchsafed to Kelly ere the spirits showed themselves in the glass. Note well what thou seest."

"There appeareth a white cloud, as a curdly vapour wreathing itself about a pillar of burning brass, but no creature is visible.—I hear a voice!"

"Mark the words and repeat them steadily," said the Doctor, who drew nearer that he might hear the purport of the revelation.

"Sanctum signatum et ad tempus," said the voice.

"The sense of this may be understood diversely. By which sense may we be guided?" said Dee, as though speaking to some invisible thing within the glass. Presently the seer again repeated—

"'Sanctum, quia hoc velle suum; sigillatum, quid determinatum ad tempus;' the voice ceaseth:—but these be hard speeches, Master Dee. I hear again, 'Ad tempus et ad tempus (inquam) quia rerum consummatio—All things are at hand—

"'The seat is prepared.
Justice hath determined.
The time is short.'"

"Seest thou no creature?" anxiously inquired the Doctor.

"None. But the pillar openeth as though it were cleft. Now a woman cometh forth out of the pedestal, covered with a cloud. I can see her face dimly at times through this veil, which seemeth to pass over as a thin cloud before the dazzling sun. She standeth as though in a hollow shell, glistening with such fair colours that no earthly brightness may be comparable to it. She now seemeth to wrap the air about her as a garment. She entereth into a thick cloud and disappears. There now cometh one like unto a little girl, her hair turned up before, and flowing behind in long and bright curls. Her raiment sparkles like unto changeable silk, green and red."

"'Tis Madini," said Dee, with great delight. "Note well what she sayeth, for she is my good angel."

"She sitteth down. Her lips move as though she were speaking, but I hear nothing."

"I will speak to her," said Dee; "for she will answer me through thy ministry, if it really be Madini. Art thou Madini, that has appeared to me beforetime?"

"I think she answereth,'Yes.' But her voice is very feeble."

"I would thou shouldest resolve me three things," said the Doctor, again addressing himself towards the glass. "To wit—Whereto shall I direct my journey, and how shall I cause it to prosper? Secondly, I would speedily be instructed in that great and heavenly mystery, the powder of projection, which I have been oft promised, but never understood aright by reason of my feeble apprehensions, or inability to accomplish the grand and sublime arcanum. Thirdly, How may I find the treasure which was shown to me in a dream three several times; but where it is hidden is withheld from me?"

"She says she will answer so far as the will of him that sent her will permit; but she hath a short continuance, and her answer must be brief. With respect to the country, make thine own choice, and thou shalt be directed in it for thy good. The other questions she says she cannot solve, but will send one of the seven who bear rule over the seals of the metals and their matrix. She hath departed, yet I saw her not. She went like a sudden stroke of light; and now there cometh a man clad in sober apparel, with an inkhorn at his girdle. He holdeth a pen, as though he would write, but his face is veiled."

"'Tis a motion that I should bring my tablets," said the Doctor.

"Now he is writing," continued the seer. "He showeth me a roll of parchment. But the glass becometh dim, and I think that evil spirits are troubling us, for the whole seems to waver, like the glowing air over the furnace."

The Doctor now fell to his prayers, when Bartholomew assured him the glass grew brighter, gradually becoming still, like the subsiding of waves after some accidental disturbance. He could now see the writing distinctly, and the veil was also removed.

"Give me the words to the very letter," said Dee earnestly, as he prepared to write.

"It runs thus:—'The most noble and divine magister; the beginning and continuation of life. Watch well, and gather him so at the highest; for in one hour he descendeth or ascendeth from the purpose.

"'Take common Audcal, purge and work it by Rlodnr, of four divers digestions, continuing the last digestion for fourteen days in one and a swift proportion, until it be Dlasod fixed, a most red and luminous body, the image of resurrection. Take also Lulo of Red Roxtan, and work him through the four fiery degrees, until thou have his Audcal, and then gather him. Then double every degree of your Rlodnr, and by the law of mixture and conjunction work them diligently together. Notwithstanding backward through every degree, multiply the lower and last Rlodnr, his due office finished by one degree more than the highest. So doth it become Darr, the thing you seek
for; a holy, just, glorious, red, and dignified Dlasod.'"

"Methinks I have heard this before," said Dee, "and understood it not. I am truly in great perplexity for want of money; but still I understand not the purport of these symbols, the which, I beseech thee, now vouchsafe to thine unworthy servant."

"'See thou take the season,'" said the voice, "'and get her while it is yet time. If ye let the harvest pass, ye shall desire to gather and shall not be able.'"

"Take pity on mine infirmities, and make it plain," supplicated the Doctor, who now began to fear the usual evasions and disappointments.

"'Before I go,'" replied the vision, "'I will not be hidden from thee. Read thy lesson.'"

"I read, 'Take common Audcal' and so on."

"'What is Audcal?' inquireth the spirit."

"Alas! I know not; but thou knowest."

"'It is gold, and Dlasod is sulphur.'"

"Take also, it says, Lulo of Red Roxtan."

"'Roxtan is pure and simple wine in herself, and Lulo is her mother.'"

"There is yet in these words no slight ambiguity."

"'Lulo is tartar of red wine, and Audcal is his mercury. Darr, in the angelical tongue, is the true name of the stone.'"

"He said before that Audcal was gold," said Dee, addressing the seer.

"Be thankful," replied Bartholomew, "and keep what thou hast received."

The Doctor was for the present satisfied; but a little reflection afterwards, and another trial, left him as ignorant and as poor as ever.

He now returned thanks in the Latin tongue, it being his general custom at the end of each revelation, or motion, as it was called.

"Deo nostro omnipotenti sit omnis Laus, Honor, Gloria, et Jubilatio." Unto which the seer responded, "Amen."

"Now for the third question."

"He goeth to one side," said Bartholomew, "and the curtain hideth him. Now he returneth, leading an old man blindfolded, who answereth him in manner following, as though to questions put by the first:—'It is within, and by a garden belonging to the new lodge in Aldport Park. It is in three parts or places.' He now seems to pause. Again he speaks—'Many roots and trees do hinder the gathering of it; but if he be wise, and understand these things, he may obtain his pleasure. One part was laid by Sir James Stanley, the warden, an hundred years ago. Another portion was hidden by an aged nun. The remainder was left by the Romans, and may be found under the foundations of the castle in the park. The time is short, and the treasure guarded; but he shall overcome. Listen:—'Nine with twice seven northerly, and ACER shall disappear. The mystical number added to the number enfolding itself; this shall be added to its own towards the rising sun. Then turn half-round, and note well thy right foot. What thou seest gather, and it shall lead thee on to perfection'"

"Ask him the amount or worth of the treasure," said Dee, whose cupidity gloated over the bare thoughts of this vast hoard.

"He says, it is 'two thousand and a half, besides odd money.'"

"How? In gold or silver?"

"'More than three parts thereof are in gold.'"

"Most humbly and heartily do I thank thee, oh"——

Dee was opening out another form of thanksgiving, when the seer interrupted his hypocritical and blasphemous addresses.

"The old man goeth aside, groping his way as though it were dark. Now all is dim, and the curtain covereth the stone, by which we are warned to retire."

The needful and concluding ceremonies being gone through, the crystal was returned to its place. After pondering awhile, the Doctor put many questions to his guest about his residence, worldly calling, and so forth. He offered him £50 yearly, besides lodging, and a fair proportion of gold when the celestial and highest projection should be completed. Bartholomew was not hard at making a bargain, and the Doctor began to hope that, by a patient waiting and trust in the efficacy of these strange delusions, he should at length accomplish his desires.

A low tap at the door again betokened the presence of Lettice, who came to announce a warm friend of the Doctor's, one Master Eccleston. On being admitted, the latter brought with him a low, ferret-eyed personage, whose leering aspect betrayed an inward consciousness of great cunning and self-satisfaction therewith. Dee received his guests with becoming dignity, inquiring to what good fortune he was indebted for their visit.

"Thou mayest remain, Hickman," said he to his new acquaintance.

Eccleston proceeded to business as follows:—

"You may readily remember that I once happened a sore mischance—to wit, by losing a horse I had but lately bought, and which, through your good offices, kindly and without fee administered, I again got back, to my great joy and comfort. I was telling of this but few days agone to a friend of mine, one Barnabas Hardcastle, whom I have made bold to bring before your reverence. He but laughed at me for my pains, and would in no wise believe it, but mark how he was served! Within this hour, he tells me that he has lost his mare, and would fain have the like help to its recovery."

"Hast thou lost thy beast?" inquired the Doctor.

"Verily I have," said Barnabas, making a respectful acknowledgment to the Doctor's dignified address. "It was but this morning she was safe as Mancastle is in the dirt, hard by Mr Lever's house yonder, in the fields. 'Tis a grievous loss, Master Dee, seeing that I was offered a score of pounds for the beast last Martinmas."

The Doctor opened his tables, and erected a scheme or figure of the heavens, to the very minute when this communication was made. Ere it was finished he gave a sharp and shrewd glance at the stranger, saying—

"The latter part of the sign Scorpio ascendeth, and it is not safe to give judgment. Mars, lord thereof, is in evil aspect with Venus, lady of the seventh and sixth likewise, or house of servants. Yet is Mercury lord of the tenth, and free from affliction. I will therefore try my skill, though I should fail. The beast thou lackest is either taken by a servant or lost through his neglect. Stay. The Dragon's Tail, which I have just placed, being located in the seventh, thy mare is certainly lost, and will never be recovered."

Dee looked earnestly at the man, who, gathering his features into a grin of contempt, could scarcely refrain from an unmannerly burst of laughter.

"Now, o' my troth," said he, "I was but minded to try the skill of your prophet, and to show your folly. The roan mare is safe, and I left her but an hour ago with my lad, who is walking her to and fro just out of the town-fields by Withy Grove, until I have done mine errand."

"Thou art a bold man to say so," replied the Doctor angrily, and with a glance as though it were meant to annihilate this contemner of the celestial art. "I tell thee she is lost, and shall never be got back: a reward thou hast well earned for thy folly."

With a scornful and malicious grin did Master Barnabas receive this denunciation, taking his departure with little ceremony, as if fearful of some mischance. Eccleston, much scandalised at his friend's proceedings, followed him down-stairs, not caring to stay longer with the Doctor.

As Bartholomew and he sate discoursing on the future, and forming many projects, more particularly about the hidden treasures, without which, Dee said, he could not continue his search for the elixir, as he was nigh beggared, they heard a swift footstep on the stairs. Presently in rushed Eccleston followed by Lettice, who strove to prevent this intrusion. The Doctor frowned on his entrance, but, Eccleston, breathless and much agitated, could with difficulty declare his errand.

"Hardcastle—Hardcastle—I say. He has lost his beast."

"Why, I told him so," said the Doctor, with great composure.

"But he has lost her!"

"I know it," replied Dee.

"I have just left him in great anger, swearing by things both visible and invisible that he will have his own again; that we are confederate in the matter: and that he will cite us both before the chapter or the Star-Chamber."

"How hath it happened?" said Dee, scrawling listlessly with his pen.

"I went with him to the boy, thinking I would see the end on't. By the way he did use many taunts and ill-natured speeches about my pursuit after the great arcanum, and belief in the celestial sciences; together with many unpleasant hints that the money we have expended in the adventure will never be got back. Discoursing thus, we came near to the place where he expected to find the boy. Sure enough he was there, and fast asleep on the ground; but the mare was gone, the bridle being left on the lad's arm, which his master banged about his shoulders until he awaked. Pray, Master Dee, be pleased to help him to his mare. I owe him moneys, for which he, taking advantage of the debt, may put me in prison."

"The scoffer shall not go unpunished, nor shall he that revileth partake of the blessing. Go thy way, and tell him he may not recover his goods."

Eccleston departed with this heavy message, and Bartholomew was again left communing with the Doctor.

The matter that still occupied their thoughts was the treasure at Aldport Lodge. With this in their possession they might reasonably expect that great progress would be made in their search for the philosopher's stone and the vivifying elixir. These important articles obtained, the hidden secrets of nature would be at their command, and their schemes and wishes might then be pursued with the certainty of success. The night but one following, at the precise time when the moon came to a trine aspect with Saturn and Jupiter, was appointed for the discovery. The hour of Saturn commenced five minutes before midnight, and the heavenly influences were then singularly disposed in favour of their undertaking.

With dazzling anticipations of future prosperity and success they separated: one to indulge in dreams so chimerical and vast that even Fancy herself drew back, dazzled with her own brightness; the other to an obscure lodging in the Old Millgate, where he committed himself to the keeping of a straw pallet and a coverlet of which the rats had for some time before held undisputed possession.

The night fixed upon for their search proved drizzling and misty. Bartholomew, wrapped in a thick cloak, sallied out of a low postern towards the college. The path was more dangerous and uneven than at present, and many a grim witness of good-fellowship with his clay had the red cloth hose of Master Bartholomew Hickman ere he arrived at the arched doorway which admitted him into Dee's lodging. We have no means of ascertaining with any degree of certainty the musings and ruminations of the seer in his progress, not having the power, or skill it may be, like unto many profound and praiseworthy historians, who can portray the form and colour of the mind as well as the cut and capacity of the doublet. Suffice it to say, that he was so fully occupied in conning over his errand as not to be aware that a certain malicious personage was dodging his steps—to wit, our worthy owner of the mare, Barnabas Hardcastle, who kept a strict watch about the premises, hoping to find some clue to the discovery of his beast.

An hour elapsed ere they came forth; the Doctor bearing a covered light, and after him the little spare form of Bartholomew Hickham, carrying under his cloak sundry implements for the search.

Passing through the churchyard, they turned into the Dean's Gate, creeping near the houses, whose overhanging gables poured down a copious shower from their dripping eaves. The streets echoed but to the tread of these adventurers, and to the howl of a solitary watch-dog roused by their approach. They passed the gate without difficulty; the Doctor was supposed to have been called forth on clerical duties, and the porter accordingly permitted their egress, merely inquiring the probable time of their return.

A few straggling houses were built nigh to the ditch and outworks; beyond these the way was open towards the park. Here they arrived in due time, entering in by a side wicket, which led them round to the back part of the house by the gardens.

The proprietorship of the Lodge had latterly fallen to the lot of Edward Mosley, by a deed of partition between his brother Oswald Mosley and himself, a mercer of great note in Manchester, one Adam Smythe; these parties having purchased, jointly, the lands of Nether and Over Aldport from Thomas Rowe of Hartford, who had them of Sir Randle Brereton, the next purchaser from William, Earl of Derby. The house and grounds, about ninety-five acres, of Nether and Over Aldport, formerly belonged to the warden of the college for the time being, and were held, by a rent of four marks per annum only, from the Lord de la Warre. It was enjoyed uninterruptedly by them until the dissolution of this community in the first of Edward VI., when it was granted to the Earl of Derby along with the rest of the college lands.

Elizabeth, however, in the twenty-first year of her reign, granted a new foundation to the college: but the Earl of Derby, who still kept possession of the college-house and some portion of the lands, suffered the warden and ministers for some time to lodge there.

The house at Aldport was moated round, and a drawbridge stood before the main entrance. The mansion was built of timber and plaster, with huge projecting stone chimneys, gable ends, and deep casements—a fitting residence in those days for rank and nobility.

Outside the moat was an extensive garden, laid out in a sumptuous style, beyond which appeared a mound of considerable elevation and extent, the site of Mancastle, famous in history as one of the strongholds of the Romans, some account of which may be found in the legend of "Sir Tarquin."

"I have been thinking," said Dee, after being silent for a space, "that no savour of dishonesty can attach to our appropriation of this great treasure, seeing the house and all this fair and goodly inheritance did once appertain to the wardens of our college, of which patrimony we have been most unjustly deprived by the statute of King Edward. My gracious mistress, our Queen, not having reinstated me into this my lawful possession, I have made bold to remind her Majesty of our wrongs, and to supplicate her clemency thereupon."

Bartholomew felt fully satisfied of the right they had to these spoils, his conscience being easily quieted on the score of appropriation.

"The rain becomes heavier, and it is more chill and showery than before. The mist, too, is driving north-east," said the Doctor. "The clouds are cumbrous and broken, coiling, as they roll, into huge masses that will ere long bring some of the dark Atlantic on their tails. Seest thou not, Bartholomew, as though it were a grim pile of hills on the horizon?"

"I see as it might be a heavy wall of clouds gathering about us; and I think the wind comes on more fitful and squally. These heavy lunges betoken an angry and vicious humour in the air that will not be long in bursting."

"We shall have it about our ears speedily. We must to work while it is yet a-brewing below."

The dark pointed roofs and chimneys of the Lodge might be distinguished in grotesque masses, changeless and unvarying, against the ever-shifting darkness of the sky. A pale star sometimes looked out as if by stealth, but was obscured almost ere its brightness could be developed. The wind, as it rushed by, broke into short and irregular gusts, like scouts from the main body, betokening its approach. The rain had ceased, save a few hasty drops at intervals plashing heavily on the moat.

"What is that?" said Bartholomew in a whisper, pointing to the water. A light had glanced on its surface, and as suddenly had it disappeared.

"Again!" Dee smiled as he looked upwards to a star just twinkling through the cloud. Like some benignant spirit, as it alighted on the dark bosom of the moat, the short sharp gust fluttering over, it seemed to hover there for a while ere it departed.

Turning out of the path, they approached a thick yew-tree flanking one corner of the garden.

"I think we may climb here, Master Dee, with little risk;—there seems a fair gap beside its trunk."

They scrambled up a high bank, thrusting themselves, with some difficulty, through the opening. The Doctor now, looking round, began to recite his instructions:—"'Nine with twice seven northerly, and ACER, shall disappear. The mystical number added to the number enfolding itself. This shall be added to its own, towards the rising of the sun. Then turn half-round, and note well thy right foot;—what thou seest gather, and it shall lead thee on to perfection.' Good; but from what point shall we begin to count?" said the divine, in great perplexity.

"I know not," said Bartholomew, "unless it be from the sycamore tree at the opposite corner yonder by the old wall."

"Thou knowest the ground hereabout?" said the Doctor hastily.

"Peradventure I may," replied the other. "Being told aforetime of treasure that was hidden, I have wandered often, at odd times, round the garden."

"Lead the way, then; it may be this same Acer is the tree of which thou speakest. Time passes, and I would not miss this lucky hour for all my hopes of preferment."

Preceded by his guide, the Doctor soon came within range of a noble sycamore that threw out its huge branches in all the pride of a long and undisturbed occupation.

"'Nine with twice seven northerly, and Acer shall disappear.' Shall I stride the ground so many steps, or is there a mystic and hidden signification couched in these numbers?"

"I know not," said Bartholomew; "but we had best make the trial."

The Doctor, with great earnestness, began to stride out the number northerly, but the sycamore did not disappear; its long bare boughs were still seen throwing out their leafless and haggard extremities against the lowering sky.

They now took counsel, when Bartholomew suggested that, as numbers were often used symbolically, they must look elsewhere for a solution. It might be the exact number of trees lying between the great sycamore and the place signified. "And there they be," said the seer, pointing to a goodly row of small twigs newly planted. "Now count them northerly, beginning as at first."

This being done, the Doctor was greatly comforted on finding himself fairly soused up to the knees in a deep ditch or drain, from whence all appearance of the sycamore was effectually excluded.

"Now," said the adept, still standing as before, "the mystical number, which is three, added to the most excellent number, which I take to be three times three, or the number enfolding itself, will make twelve; but there be no trees eastward, or towards the rising sun."

"Then try the steps once more," said Bartholomew, "and take heed they are of the right length,—proper easy-going steps. Stay, I will count them myself."

Leaving his companion in the ditch, the seer counted forth his number with due care, halting at the last step.

"Now stand in my place, turn half-round, and gather from thy right foot."

Dee, having cleared the bog, placed himself in the required position. Stooping down, he groped diligently by his right foot, but was aware of nothing but a crabbed stump, that resisted every attempt they could use for its dislodgment.

"Bring the mattock," said the Doctor, cautiously uncovering the light. But though Bartholomew tugged with great energy, the Doctor helping, it was to little purpose, for the stump was immovable.

"We had best try the probe." Saying this, the warder drew forth an instrument in shape something like unto a large auger. He could by this means easily ascertain if anything hard were below, or any symptons of concealed treasure. As they were thus engaged a hollow voice, to their terrified apprehensions issuing from the ground, cried out—

"Hold!"

The treasure-hunters came to a full pause. The wind and rain at the same time beat so heavily they could not ascertain the sequel to this injunction.

"'Tis Nargal, the spirit who guards hidden treasures," said Dee: "we can approach him only by prayers and fumigations."

"Then must we return?" said Bartholomew, apparently unwilling to desist.

"Hark!" said the Doctor, listening.

They heard a moan, as that of some one in great pain. Presently a faint shriek stole through a pause in the blast.

"'Tis like the groan of a mandrake," he continued: "they do ever lament and bewail thus when gathered. I doubt not but this tree is of that accursed nature."

Again the voice was articulate.

"To-morrow thou mayest return at this hour; but I will not yield my treasure save thou bring me gold!"

"Who art thou?"

"I am the guardian of the treasure; and

"Gold I have. Bring gold with thee;
Or thou shalt get no gold from me."

"What is thy demand?" inquired Dee, in a hollow voice, like that of an exorcist.

"Prop thy purse with fifty nobles;—then dig, and I will tell thee."

The two worthies were somewhat startled at this demand. It was more than their joint forces could muster. Yet two thousand and more broad pieces, besides other valuables, which lay there for the gathering, was too profitable a return to make them easily give up the adventure. Accordingly, after some further questions which the demon as resolutely refused to answer, they departed, first replacing the earth and other matters they had disturbed, in their former position.

Early on the following morning the eager divine applied to his friend Eccleston for another loan, assuring him it was the last; while from the produce of the treasure he would be enabled to pay his former advances, with a copious interest thereon. The needy expectant was loath to furnish him with another supply, though in the end he was prevailed on to borrow from his friends, at an exorbitant interest, for one day only.

This important preliminary being arranged, the night was anxiously awaited, and though more than usually tardy in its approach, twilight at length threw her mantle of grey over the world's cares and perplexities, and night, that universal coverlet of all things, whether good or evil, did wrap them gently about.

And a night of more loveliness and lustre never was unveiled to the eye of mortals.

The stars were walking in brightness—so clear and sparkling that each seemed a ray or an emblem of that ineffably glorious Beam whose uncreated splendour no eye can see and live. Those bright clusters that we now behold have been the same through all generations, and they have seen "all things that are done under the sun." Fixed as the everlasting hills, their bounds and their habitation have been unchanged. The same lights were in the heavens when Abraham looked up from the plains of Mamre, as now when the Arab and the Ishmaelite are in the desert. The bands of Orion are not loosed, nor the sweet influences of the Pleiades unbound. The same glittering groups which the patriarch beheld beam nightly on our tabernacles. They have shone upon the world's heroes and the world's demigods—bright links in the oblivion of ages. And the numerous hosts we gaze upon will present the same glowing and immutable forms to cheer and gladden the eyes and hearts of coming generations.

Some feeling of this nature was probably rising in the Doctor's bosom as they once more took the open path to Aldport, and he looked on the wide hemisphere about him—the heavens, with their glowing constellations, all spread out without an obscurity or an obstruction. He felt for one moment the folly and futility of earthly things, and his heart seemed to wither in the immensity into which it was plunged.

It was like a faint glimpse of eternity, and he shrunk back from the abyss, all his own vast world of thought, feeling, and desire, lost in that immeasurable space. But the dazzling dream of ambition again passed before him. The portals of universal empire and immortality were thrown open. He drove back the unwelcome intruder, but the phantom he pursued again fluttered from his grasp.

They had marked the spot on their former visit, and Dee, with the fifty gold pieces in his purse, Bartholomew Hickman acting as chief workman, began his unholy proceedings: not, however, without some fear of the demon whom these moneys were to propitiate. Bartholomew laboured with great diligence, but the earth was much easier to remove than before, and the old stump soon gave way, making but a slight resistance. This was attributed to some charm wrought by the treasure they carried, and was looked upon as a favourable omen—an unloosing of the fetters which guarded the deposit. Every spadeful of earth was carefully examined, and the probe thrust down anxiously and with great caution. About a yard in depth had been taken away when the spade struck upon something hard. The strokes were redoubled, and a narrow flag appeared. Raising this obstacle they beheld a wooden coffer. Dee sung out a Latin prayer as usual; for he failed not to pour out his thanks with great fervour for any selfish indulgence that fell in his way, or, as he imagined, was granted to him by the special favour of Heaven.

"There," said Bartholomew, raising the box, which from its weight and capacity promised a rich reward, "I think we have now what will season our labours well. What think you, Master Dee?"

But the Doctor was absorbed in visions of future greatness, now bursting on him with a glory and rapidity almost painful to contemplate. He seized the shrine, scarcely giving his helpmate time to fill up and conceal their depredations.

"But the fifty pieces—have you got them safe?" inquired Bartholomew.

"They are in my pouch. I do think the demon hath forgotten to demand them."

"Fear not, he will be ready enough to ask for his own. What comes o'er the devil's back will sooner or later go under his belly!"

"Let us pack and begone," said the Doctor, fearful of losing his treasure.

The box was presently swung over the seer's shoulders, Dee following to keep all safe, though not without many apprehensions and misgivings of heart. He feared lest the spirit might appear again for his own; or, at least, for the fifty pieces of gold, which were his right.

Just as they came to the gap by the yew-tree, and Bartholomew was resting against the trunk, a voice from behind them shouted—

"Stop!—What make ye here, ye villains?"

Dee turned round and the light flashed upon two armed men, masked, who evidently came towards them with no friendly intent.

"Put down that box," said the foremost.

Bartholomew was proceeding to surrender at discretion, but Dee first inquired their errand.

"We can tell ye that in a twinkling," said the malicious intruders, "after we have stepped up to the lodge, and given them a pretty guess at the quality of the knaves who be robbing of their garden. Nay, Doctor, we take no excuse, unless we take our share of the spoil with it. To work, or ye budge not hence without discovery."

This was a provoking interruption—their all depended on a favourable issue to this adventure. Dee therefore offered terms of capitulation as follows:—

"I'll give you five-and-twenty gold pieces on the spot if ye will let us pass."

"Five-and-twenty!—why, that box may hold five-and-twenty hundred," said the freebooter with a whistle, by way of derision.

"Perhaps not," said the Doctor, warily; "it is not yet tried, and may not be opened here without risk. Come to my lodgings to-morrow, and we will share in the product."

"Nay," returned the rogue, sharply, "a pullet in the pen is worth a hundred in the fen. Come, we will deal kindly with thee: give us fifty, and pass on."

Dee willingly opened his pouch, and threw the gold into the fellow's greasy cap, which he held out for the purpose. Immediately they took to their heels and departed.

"The demon was more kind, and of a different nature from those that do generally haunt these hidden treasures," said the Doctor, as he trudged along, following closely at Bartholomew's heels. "If he had not warned me to bring the gold, these thieves must needs have opened the box. Had they seen the vast hoard which it contains I should not have been released for thrice the sum."

With mutual congratulations on their good fortune, and many pious thanksgivings on the part of Dee, they arrived, without farther molestation, at the college, where Lettice was ill-humouredly awaiting their return.

Bartholomew threw down his burden in the study, where the Doctor, cautiously guarding against intrusion, wrenched open the chest. His rage and agony may be conceived when he found the treasure transformed into a heap of stones, bearing the following malicious doggerel on their front:—

"My mare is lost, but I've the gold;
My mare is better lost than sold.
Full fifty pieces, broad and bright,
My bullies bring me home to-night.
My trap is baited!—Springs it well,
I get the kernel, thou the shell!

"From thy loving,

"BARNABUS HARDCASTLE, Armiger."



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