Letters of Maria Celeste:
11 November 1628
Most Beloved Lord Father
As I have not written to you in quite some time, Sire, you might easily assume I had forgotten, as in like manner I might suppose you had lost your way en route to visit us, since you have not walked that road in such a long while: but just as I know that I do not neglect writing to you for the aforesaid reason, but only on account of a constant and extreme shortage of time, of which I can never count a single hour truly mine, so in the same sense it behooves me to believe that you, not from forgetfulness, but under the pressure of other impediments leave off coming here; and this is easier to bear now that our Vincenzio visits in your stead, and we are appeased by having such a reliable source for good reports of you, all of which please me, except the part I hear about your going to the garden every morning; this news upsets me more than a little, as it seems to me that you will reap some strange and troublesome illness there, as came to pass last winter. Please renounce this recreation of yours that always repays you so ruinously; and if you will not do so out of love for yourself, then do it out of love for us, your children, who want to see you live to an advanced old age; which will not happen if you tax yourself thusly. I speak from personal experience, because every time I stay outdoors I suffer a terrible headache: think how much more harshly the air may punish you! When Vincenzio was last here with us, Suor Chiara asked him for eight or ten Portuguese oranges; now she comes to ask them of you, Sire, if they are at all ripe, as she needs them for Monday morning.
I am returning your covered dish, with a cooked pear inside it, which I do not think will displease you, as well as this little bit of sweet almond pastry.
If you have collars to be whitened, you can send them together with that other covered basket you have of ours. I offer my loving greetings to you, Sire, and to Vincenzio, and Suor Arcangela does the same along with the others here. May the Lord grant you His holy grace.
From San Matteo, St. Martin's Day [11 November] of 1628.
Most affectionate daughter,
©1995 Al Van Helden