Letters of Maria Celeste:
13 July 1633
Most Illustrious and Beloved Lord Father
That the letter you wrote me from Siena (where you say you find yourself in good health) brought me the greatest pleasure, and the same to Suor Arcangela a, is needless for me to weary myself in convincing you, Sire, since you will well know how to fathom what I could not begin to express; but I should love to describe to you the show of jubilation and merriment that these mothers and sisters made upon learning of your happy return, for it was truly extraordinary; since the Mother Abbess, with many others, hearing the news, ran to me with open arms, and crying with tenderness and happiness; truly I am bound as a slave to all of them, for having understood from this display how much love they feel for you, Sire, and for us.
Hearing furthermore that you are staying in the home of a host as kind and courteous as Monsignor Archbishop multiplies the pleasure and satisfaction, despite the potential prejudicial effect this may have on our own interests, because it could well prove to be the case that his extremely enjoyable conversation may engage and detain you much longer than we would like. However, since here for now the suspicions of contagion continue, I commend your remaining there and awaiting (as you say you wish to do) the safety assurance from your closest friends, who, if not with greater love, at least with more certainty than we possess, will be able to apprise you of the facts.
But meanwhile I should judge that it would be wise to draw a profit from the wine in your cellar, at least one cask's worth; because although for now it is keeping well, I fear this heat may precipitate some peculiar effect: and already the cask that you had tapped before you left, Sire, from which the housemaid and the servant drink, has begun to spoil. You will need to give orders as to what you want done, because I have so little knowledge of this business; but I am coming to the conclusion that since you produced enough to last the entire year, and as you have been away for six of those months, you will still have plenty left, even if you should return in a few days.
Leaving this aside, however, and turning to that which concerns me more, I am longing to know in what manner your affair was terminated to the satisfaction of both you and your adversaries, as you intimated in the next to last letter you wrote me from Rome: tell me the details at your convenience, and only after you have rested, because I can be patient awhile longer awaiting enlightenment on this contradiction.
Signor Geri was here one morning, during the time we suspected you to be in the greatest danger, Sire, and he and Signor Aggiunti went to your house and did what had to be done, which you later told me was your idea, seeming to me at the time well conceived and essential, to avoid some worse disaster that might yet befall you, wherefore I knew not how to refuse him the keys and the freedom to do what he intended, seeing his tremendous zeal in serving your interests, Sire.
Last Saturday I wrote to her ladyship the Ambassadress with all the great love that I felt, and if I receive an answer, I shall share it with you. I close here because sleep assails me now at the third hour of the night, on which account you will excuse me, Sire, in the event I have said anything inappropriate. I return to you doubled all the regards you offered to those named in your letter and especially La Piera and Geppo, who are thoroughly cheered by your return; and I pray blessed God to give you His holy grace.
From San Matteo, the 13th day of July 1633.
Most affectionate daughter,
©1995 Al Van Helden