Letters of Maria Celeste:
14 January 1630
Most Beloved Lord Father
The dread I have, Sire, that your coming here the other day has perhaps occasioned a typical recurrence of your older indisposition, urges me to send this messenger to you now, with the hope, however, that what I fear has not come to pass, but only what I wish: namely, that you feel extremely well, which unfortunately cannot be said of everyone here, since Suor Luisa's teacher, Suor Giulia, the one you saw the other day, Sire, and could not believe to be eighty years of age, on account of her strong spirit, that very evening was stricken with a sudden fever, catarrh, and pains of such gravity that the illness must surely kill her: and this has plunged Suor Luisa into extreme distress, because she has loved this teacher of hers so dearly. What's more, Suor Violante, following the doctor's recommendation, is now confined to bed with a fever; and, according to what this same doctor tells us, not much can be done or hoped for her: yesterday morning she took her medicine and we are waiting to see what happens. If you would be so kind, Sire, as to send a flask of well aged red wine for her, I would be most grateful, because our wine is very harsh, and I want to try, in any small way I can, to help her to the last. I keep remembering my debt to La Porzia, and so I offer you these handkerchiefs that we have embroidered ourselves, and this braided silk belt, so that you can see if you would like to present them to her as a gift from me, or wait until you can find another length of that fine cloth; enough: you will do as you see fit in this matter, Sire. Please enjoy these fresh eggs this evening with my love, and to close I greet you with all my heart together with the others in the room. May the Lord bless you with His holy grace.
The 14th day of January 1629.*
Your most affectionate daughter,
*On the Florentione calendar the new yead began on 25 March
©1995 Al Van Helden