Letters of Maria Celeste:
15 December 1630
Most Beloved Lord Father
I see that this cold north wind will not allow you, Sire, to be with us as soon as you had promised me; on the contrary I doubt that you could brave it without compromising your health; however I send to see how you are, and to give you the candied citron peel, these morsels having been made from the rind alone without the flesh of that most beautiful citron. The other fanciful shapes are prepared from both the flesh and the rind of the smaller fruits: but the best of all these I believe you will find to be the big round one, owing to the more than generous measure of sugar I heaped into it.
I intend to make little Christmas presents for Virginia and La Piera. I will be most pleased if you can send the two of them here before the holy day, so I can give them their gifts; and because I also want to make a little joke present for Suor Luisa, I would love it if you could share in its preparation, Sire, by seeing if per chance you have around your house some material that I might make into a curtain for the door of her cell; whether it is hide or dyed cloth makes no difference to me: the length should be two yards and the width a little more than one, to which I will add various odd trifles to make her laugh; these would include bobbins, a string of sulfur matches for lighting the lamps at night, wick taper, bootlaces, and other little items such as these, more than for anything else to give her, just once, a sign of gratitude for all I feel I owe her. If you have the things at home to do me this favor, Sire, I will be delighted, if not, never mind trying to get them from outside, lest you risk some peril, as I desire above all that you maintain your health, and therefore I beg you to take care of yourself as well as you possibly can.
I have heard nothing more yet regarding the business of Monsignor Archbishop; please do let me know when you have been called, Sire. With that I send you greetings from my heart together with Suor Arcangela and our usual friends. May Our Lord bless you.
From San Matteo, the 15th day of December 1630.
Most affectionate daughter,
©1995 Al Van Helden