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Letters of Maria Celeste:

21 May 1633

Most Beloved Lord Father

I have never let a courier pass this way without writing to you, Sire, and sending the letters to Signor Geri, who assures me that you must have received them by now. As far as your returning here under these prevailing conditions, I can guarantee you neither resolution nor assurance on account of the contagious pestilence, whose end is so urgently desired that all the faith of the city of Florence is now vested in the Most Holy Madonna, and to this effect this morning with great solemnity her miraculous Image was carried from Impruneta to Florence, where it is expected to stay for 3 days, and we cherish the hope that during its return journey we will enjoy the privilege of seeing her. We will hear what happens in any case, and next Saturday I shall give you a full report. Meanwhile, learning how the delay of your departure favors your interests, we more easily tolerate the sorrow that tries us during your absence.

In this neighborhood there have been two peasants infected by the evil pestilence, but at present no others are known, and now that all the gentlemen who own villas in the area have retreated to these parts, we take it as a sign that they suspect no sickness here.

I will be most grateful, for the love of Suor Luisa, if you would be so kind as to assist our dear old Confessor with his cause; but you will have to see, Sire, if you can talk about it to Signor Giovanni Mancini, who was sent the documents some time ago, though there has never been a response from him or from any of the others to whom this affair was referred. I asked to have a little sample of the wine sent to me from your two recently filled casks, and it seems to me to be very good. La Piera tells me to have them refilled more often, but for quite a long time now they have not needed it. Giuseppe is waiting to deliver these letters, so that I cannot add anything else, except that I implore you not to confuse yourself with drink, as I hear you have been doing. I greet you on everyone's behalf, and from the Lord God I pray your true happiness.

From San Matteo, the 21st day of May 1633.

Your most affectionate daughter,
S. M. Celeste

1995 Al Van Helden
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