Letters of Maria Celeste:
19 April 1628
Most Beloved Lord Father
The citrons you sent seem so very beautiful that I derive delight simply from beholding them, as well as from the diligence and workmanship required to prepare them properly; thus this endeavor brings me deep pleasure, and all the more so because I have occasion to employ myself in your service, Sire, which I find more agreeable than any other occupation in the world. Here is the remaining jar of rosemary flower jam, just freshly made out of the sugar left over from the candied citrons, which I deem not quite ready yet to send to you, and the same is true for the citron marmalade, although I must say it turned out rather well.
As for the amount of sugar I need, it should fill several jars the size of this one I send you now, not less than six ounces each, although the other one I sent you held seven, and believe me I am not far wrong in my figures, even if speak off the top of me head, as the saying goes: but surely you jest with me, Sire, for you well know I would not lie to you, especially in such a matter as this.
Meanwhile, if you have emptied my three glass containers, you may return them when you send the additional flowers, so that I can refill them. And I would also like you to conduct a thorough search of your house, Sire, as it is time to make gifts of holy water, and if you were to find a few more empty bottles or vials that might do for the apothecary, I should gladly take them off your hands, for they would be most welcome here, or a few boxes: but enough, Sire, you understand me.
We made these meringue cookies according to your recipe, now that Lent is over. Here, too, is some marzipan pastry for you, Sire, and four little treats for the boys. I thank you for the wine, which I shall share with my elderly mistress and our friends, because truly it is not my drink. I send you and Aunt all my love, and I pray the Lord to bless you.
The 19th day of April.
Your most affectionate daughter,
©1995 Al Van Helden