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Letters of Maria Celeste:

19 February 1630

Most Beloved Lord Father

I know that you have heard all about my woes, Sire, from our Nora; and I was content to let her tell you, so as not to be always the bearer of bad news myself; but happily now I can say that Suor Luisa, by God's grace, is much better, and Suor Arcangela and I are extremely well: Suor Chiara reasonably so and the two old nuns their normal selves: may it please the Lord that you, too, Sire, enjoy the well-being that I desire, but dare not assume, considering the harshness of the weather: I am most eager to be assured of your good health, and meanwhile I send you these few cakes to break your fast during the long vigils of these winter nights.

Vincenzio came yesterday evening to deliver a fine pot of caviar, for which Suor Arcangela thanks you, Sire, this being her share not mine, as it does not suit me: I would much prefer to eat your soup, and a few dried figs to settle my stomach; the custom of all these years perhaps emboldens me too much; but knowing that such demands do not displease you, Sire, soothes and reassures me.

The clock that traveled back and forth between us so many times now runs beautifully, its flaw having been my fault, as I got it a little out of order; I sent it to you in a covered basket with a towel, and have not gotten either of those back; if you find them by chance about the house, Sire, please do return them. I will say no more for now, except that I send you loving regards on behalf of everyone I have mentioned here; and I pray blessed God to keep you happy always.

From San Matteo, the 19th day of February 1629.*

Most affectionate daughter,
S. Maria Celeste

*On the Florentine calendar the new year began on 25 March

1995 Al Van Helden
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