Letters of Maria Celeste:
14 May 1633
Most Beloved Lord Father
That the letter you wrote me last week brought me the greatest pleasure and joy, I have already indicated to you in a previous note of mine; and now I add that being compelled to send it to Signor Geri so that Vincenzio too could see it, I made a copy, which Signor Rondinelli, after having read it, wanted to take with him to Florence, to spread the news among several friends of his, whom he knew would derive great satisfaction from hearing these particulars about you, Sire, as indeed turned out to be the case, for so I was informed later on when Signor Rondinelli returned the letter to me. He is the one who from time to time comes to your house, Sire, and no others frequent it. La Piera tells me she does not go out at all, except when she comes here, to hear mass or for other needs, and the boy sometimes goes as far as the Bocchineris' house to pick up the letters, not daring to venture elsewhere, because, beyond shunning anyone suspected of plague, he is still a weakling and moreover covered with mange he acquired in the hospital; and now he needs to medicate the rash with some ointment that I am making for him. As for the rest I attempt to tend to everything in the manner you will be able to see, Sire, in this scribbling-pad that I am sending you, where thus far I have noted the expenditures paid out, and also the income gained on account. The income, although it exceeds the expenses by several Lire, I took the liberty of spending on necessities for Suor Arcangela and myself, so that you could say we are even now, and from this day forward I will make a new ledger. The other outlays after your departure, Sire, are,
17 scudi and a half to Signor Lorenzo Bini for the rent of the villa.
24 scudi in four payments to Vincenzio Landucci, and Lire 6, 13, and 4 for expenses incurred in February; and I have receipts for all of these.
25 scudi appropriated by me to care for Suor Arcangela, as you know, Sire, and others.
15 scudi it was necessary to take, so that she could finish her blessed office, which was conducted with the help of God and of you Sire, because, without this enormous relief, it would not have been possible to carry on; and also the nuns showed themselves entirely satisfied, because, with your loving attention, Sire, and your having provided money, they have covered up more bad deeds or secret vices than we wish to admit.
These last fifteen scudi I expect to repay you presently from our allowance, which we shall soon have to withdraw.
This current year was to bring Suor Arcangela's turn as Cellarer, an office that gave me much to ponder. Indeed I secured the Mother Abbess's pardon that it not be given to her by pleading various excuses; and instead she was made Draper, obliging her to bleach and keep count of the tablecloths and towels in the convent.
I feel particularly delighted to hear that your health is in good condition, Sire, as I was very worried about your well-being on account of the travails you have endured; but the Lord God wanted to grant you the combined graces of freeing you not only from the torments of the spirit but also those of the body. May He be ever praised!
The evil contagion still persists, but they say that only a few people die of it and the hope is that it must come to an end when the Madonna of Impruneta is carried in procession to Florence for this purpose. I sent your letter to our former Father Confessor in Florence, since he no longer comes to our convent, and we have had another confessor, a young man of 35 years, from the parish church of San Stefano.
I am stupefied to learn that Vincenzio has never written to you, and I revel in having outstripped him by my zeal in visiting you with my letters, although frequently I too had great strictures on my time, and today I have written this one in four installments, interrupted constantly by various complications for the sake of the apothecary; and further by toothache that brings on my typical catarrh, which has already troubled me for several days. I end by greeting you on behalf of everyone mentioned herein, and entreating you to return the regards of my Most Excellent Ladyship multiplied a hundredfold, and praying Our Lord to bless you and keep you happy always.
From San Matteo, the 14th day of May 1633.
Your most affectionate daughter,
From S. Casciano have come two deliveries totaling 8 bushels of flour for La Piera, but I did not try to pay for it, knowing there are other bills outstanding between you and Ninci.
©1995 Al Van Helden