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Letters of Maria Celeste:

23 July 1633

Most Illustrious and Beloved Lord Father

Signor Geri has not thus far been able to send me the letter that you wrote him, Sire, as he was required to leave it with the Grand Duke: he promised me he will try to let me have it before long.

Meanwhile I am quite pleased with this one that you wrote to me, from which I understand that you are in good health, and enjoying every comfort and satisfaction, and for that I thank God, from Whom (as I have told you many times) I acknowledge your well-being as a special grace.

Yesterday morning I had some small samples taken of the wine from your casks, one of which is extremely good, the other has a bad color, and also the flavor does not seem right to me, almost as though it has spoiled. This evening I will tell Signor Rondinelli, who, following his usual Saturday custom, will be sure to come to the villa; and he will know better how to recognize whether drinking it may be bad for one's health, for the taste alone would not be all that unpleasant, and I will give you his opinion, Sire, so you can dictate what you want done, in the event it is not good. That white wine in the wicker-covered bottles is strong and will make an exquisite vinegar, except for the one in the small flask, which, on account of being only just beginning to spoil, we are drinking before it turns any worse: the defect was no fault of La Piera's, because she examined the bottles often and made sure to keep them filled. Quite a large quantity of capers was harvested and preserved, Sire, namely all those that were in the garden, for La Piera tells me you are especially fond of them.

There has not been any flour in your house for several days, but because this terrible heat makes it impossible to bake much bread, seeing as it hardens quickly and turns moldy, and it is not worth the effort of heating the oven to bake only a little bit, I have the boy buy it here in our shop. With the next letter I will give you a more specific account of the daily expenditures, because now I lack the energy, succumbing (as is typical for me in this season) to extreme weakness, so that you might say I barely have the strength to move my pen.

I greet you lovingly on behalf of all these reverend mothers, to whom every hour feels like a thousand years, on account of their strong desire to see you again, and I pray the Lord to bless you.

From San Matteo, the 23rd day of July 1633.

Most affectionate daughter,
S. M. Celeste

1995 Al Van Helden
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