Letters of Maria Celeste:
12 November 1633
Most Beloved Lord Father
Taking advantage of the opportunity to write to you again, Sire, via this worker for Sir Santi Bindi who is setting out in your direction, I must tell you first how astounded I was that you made no mention in your last letter of having received any letters from Rome, nor any resolution regarding your return, which we had so hoped to have before All Saints' Day [1 November], from what Signor Gherardini led me to believe. I want you to tell me truly how this business is progressing, so as to quiet my mind, and also please tell me what subject you are writing about at present: provided it is something that I might be able to understand, and you have no fear of my gossiping.
Tordo has received the 4 scudi, as I wrote to you last Thursday, and the Bini's have sent their worker Domenico to collect the rent for the house: I replied that their request will be satisfied the moment you are made aware of it, Sire, and you give me your orders.
No one has been able to work in the garden more than half a day in all this time, because the weather has been so hostile, which I think explains why you feel thus afflicted, Sire, by your pains.
The two pounds of linen that you sent with Geppo seemed the same quality as the previous batch at 20 crazie, which turned out very well, but considering the cost I believe this lot could be better; the single pound at four giuli is extremely fine and not overpriced.
Master Giulio Ninci feels altogether well, from what Geppo tells me, and has sent us some very thoughtful gifts: and Master Alessandro his cousin gave me a citron, from which I have made these 10 sweets I am sending you, each of which, for being slightly aromatic will prove pleasing, if not to the taste, then to the stomach. You will be able to sample them, Sire, and, if you deem it fitting, present them to our most illustrious Monsignor together with the Rose. The pine nut cake with the two pieces of quince pear I received from my lady Ortensia, and in exchange I gave her one of those Sienese cakes I requested of you, Sire.
I send you no pills because I have not had time to reformulate them, aside from the fact that I sense you have no need of them.
When the bearer of this letter returns I will be expected to reward him kindly for having carried out my request; I would value your advice, Sire, as to what I might give him to compensate him yet not overpay him: since he travels to that region principally to serve his own needs.
I end by giving you the usual greetings, and from the Lord God I pray for your true contentment.
From San Matteo, the 12th day of November 1633.
Your most affectionate daughter,
The continuous rain has not allowed Giovanni (as the bearer of this letter is called) to leave this morning, which is Sunday, and this leaves me time to chat with you a little longer, and to tell you that recently I pulled a very large molar, which had rotted and was giving me great pain; but what is worse is that I have several others that soon will do the same. From Signor Rondinelli I hear that the two children of Vincenzio Landucci, for the time being, are under the good care of a woman who took them into her own home a while ago to tend to them: Vincenzio himself was sick with fever, but is feeling better. I have a wish to know how often our Vincenzio writes to you, Sire.
To respond to that personal detail you shared with me, that you find occupations so salubrious, truly I recognize them as having that same effect on myself as well: so that even though the activities occasionally seem superfluous and intolerable to me, on account of my being a friend of tranquility, I nevertheless see clearly how staying active is the foundation of my health, and particularly in the time that you have been far away from us, Sire, with great providence did the Lord arrange it so that I never had what you might call an hour of peace, thus preventing the oppression of your absence from distressing me. Such grief would have been harmful to me, and given you cause for worry instead of the relief I have been able to provide. Blessed be the Lord, from whom I anticipate new graces for the future, just as He has granted us so many in the past. Meanwhile, Sire, endeavor to be of good cheer and rely upon the One who is faithful, just, and merciful, and with Him I leave you.
©1995 Al Van Helden