Letters of Maria Celeste:
21 November 1623
Most Illustrious Lord Father
Between the infinite love I bear you, Sire, and my fear that this sudden cold, which ordinarily troubles you so much, may aggravate your current aches and indispositions, I find it impossible to remain without news of you: therefore I beg to hear how you are, Sire, and also when you think you will be setting off on your journey. I have hastened my work on the linens, and they are almost finished; but in applying the fringe, of which I am sending you a sample, I see I will not have enough for the last two cloths, as I need almost another four braccia. Please do everything you can to get this to me quickly, so I can send them all to you before you leave; as it is for the purpose of your upcoming trip that I have gone to such lengths to finish them.
Since I do not have a room where I can sleep through the night, Suor Diamanta, by her kindness, lets me stay in hers, depriving her own sister of that hospitality in order to take me in; but the room is terribly cold now, and with my head so infected, I cannot see how I will be able to stand it there, Sire, unless you help me by lending me one of your bed hangings, one of the white ones that you will not need to use now while you are away. I am most eager to know if you can do me this service. And another thing I ask of you, please, is to send me your book, the one that has just been published, so that I may read it, as I am longing to see what it says.
Here are some cakes I made a few days ago, hoping to give them to you when you came to bid us adieu. I see that this will not happen quite as soon as I feared, and so I want you to have them before they turn hard. Suor Arcangela continues still to purge herself, and she does not feel terribly well after having had the two cauteries on her thighs. I am still not very well either, but by now I am so accustomed to poor health that I hardly think about it, seeing how it pleases the Lord to keep testing me always with some little pain or other. I thank Him, and I pray that He grant you, Sire, the greatest possible well-being in all respects. And to close I send you loving greetings from me and from Suor Arcangela.
From San Matteo, the 21st day of November 1623.
Most affectionate daughter,
If you have collars to be bleached, Sire, you may send them to us.
©1995 Al Van Helden