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Letters of Maria Celeste:

11 June 1633

Most Beloved Lord Father

In my last letter, Sire, I said the situation regarding the contagion seemed well under control, but now I cannot in all honesty give a similar report, since for the past several days, the weather having turned unusually cool for this time of year, the plague has regathered its strength, and every day one hears of more houses being shut up, although the death toll is not that large, not exceeding seven or eight per day, as far as we can tell, with an equal number of people falling ill. Consequently, things having reached this pass, I would judge that you may still be able travel in the direction of Siena, as you had intended, provided that your affairs can be concluded this month, because from then on till autumn no one will be allowed to frequent the open country around Rome, according to Signor Rondinelli; and I surely would not want to see you forced, Sire, to make such a long sojourn so far away. Therefore please do everything you can to expedite your dispatch, which I still hope can be obtained as soon as possible with the help of blessed God and his lordship the Ambassador, who clearly feels he can never do enough to aid and protect you, Sire, with all the forces at his command. And truly, dearest Lord Father, if on the one hand the Lord God has afflicted and mortified you, He has then on the other relieved and assisted you greatly. Only to have conserved your health against the hardships you suffered through the journey, and since that time despite the torments you have endured, was in itself a most singular grace. May it please the Lord God to realize that we are not insensible for so many blessings, and to keep you and protect you till the very last, for which I pray Him with all my heart, and to you, Sire, I send a thousand loving greetings together with our dear ones.

From San Matteo, the 11th day of June 1633.

Most affectionate daughter,
S. M. Celeste

1995 Al Van Helden
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