Letters of Maria Celeste:
12 March 1633
Most Illustrious and Beloved Lord Father
Your last letter, sent me from Signor Andrea Arrighetti, brought me great solace, as much for hearing that you are keeping up your good health, Sire, as for the good news that assures me of a happy ending to your affair, just as my longing and my love have led me to expect. Whereby even though I see that, with things progressing in this fashion, prolonging the time of your return, I consider it nonetheless a great destiny to be deprived of my own satisfaction for an occasion that has the potential to redound in the favorable recognition and reputation of your character, which I love more than my own. And I calm myself all the more by my certainty that you will receive every honor and desired comfort from those very excellent lords and especially from my most excellent lady and patroness [Ambassadress Caterina Niccolini], whose visit, should Suor Arcangela and I be so fortunate as to receive one, I am certain would be a noteworthy favor and as welcome to us as you will have to imagine yourself, Sire, for I know not how to express it. As for allowing her to view a comedy, I am speechless, because it would have to be rehearsed in time for her arrival, although I would honestly believe, since she evinces her desire to hear us perform, that we would be safer leaving her believing in the talent she assumes us to have on your report, Sire.
Similarly the arrival of the most reverend father Don Benedetto [Castelli] will be most appreciated here, on account of his being a renowned individual and so affectionate toward you, Sire, so please return his regards twofold from us, and also do me the favor of giving me some news of Anna Maria [Vajani, an artist acquaintance of his], whom you extolled so highly the last time you returned from Rome, because since then I find myself growing attached to her, having heard of her goodness and courage.
Suor Arcangela feels somewhat improved, but her arm is not altogether better yet, and Suor Luisa fares reasonably well, by virtue of her strict observance of her daily regimen. I feel all right because my mind is calm and clear, while my body stays in constant motion, except for the seven hours of the night, which I waste away by only sleeping, because this dull head of mine cannot survive with even a tiny bit less. I do not fail in any case to devote as much time as possible to my prayers, entreating blessed God to grant you first of all the health of your soul, and also the other favors that you most desire.
I will say no more for now, if not to beg your forbearance if I have bored you too much, thinking that I could compress into this paper all the things I would chatter to you about in a week's time.
I send you all my love together with our usual friends; and Signor Rondinelli sends you his regards.
From San Matteo, the 12th day of March 1632.*
Most affectionate daughter,
*On the Florentine calendar the new year began on 25 March.
©1995 Al Van Helden