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Letters of Maria Celeste:

24 July 1633

Most Illustrious and Beloved Lord Father

I read the letter you wrote to Signor Geri with particular pleasure and consolation, Sire, on account of the things contained in its first paragraph. I will be so bold as to venture on into the third paragraph as well, although it pertains to the purchase of some little house I do not know about, which I have inferred that Signor Geri very much wants Vincenzio to buy, albeit with your help. I certainly would not want to be presumptuous, interfering in matters that do not concern me. Nonetheless, because I care a great deal about whatsoever is of even minimal interest to you, Sire, I would implore you and exhort you (assuming you are in a position to be able to do this) to give them, if not the full amount, then some appreciable part of it, not only for love of Vincenzio, but just as much to keep Signor Geri favorably disposed toward you, as he has, on past occasions, shown great fondness for you, Sire, and, from all I have seen, tried to help you in any way he could: therefore, if, without too much trouble on your part, you could give him some sign of gratitude, I should judge that a deed well done. I know that you yourself can perceive and arrange such matters infinitely better than I, and perhaps I do not even know what I am saying, but well I know how anything I say is dictated by pure love toward you.

The servant who was in Rome with you came here yesterday morning, urged to do so by Signor Giulio Nunci. It seemed strange to me not to see letters from you, Sire. Yet I was appeased by the excuse this same man made, explaining that you had not known whether he would pass this way. Now that you are without a servant, Sire, our Geppo, who cannot move freely about here, desires nothing more, if only he were granted permission, than to come to you, and I should very much like that, too. If your thoughts concur, Sire, I could see to sending him well escorted, and I believe Signor Geri can secure him a permit to travel.

I also want to know how much straw to buy for the little mule, because La Piera fears she will die of hunger, and the fodder is not good enough for her, as she is a most original animal.

Since I sent you the list of expenses paid out for your house, we have incurred these others that I give you account of now, besides the money that every month I have made sure was paid to Vincenzio Landucci, for which I keep all the receipts, except the last two payments; for at those times he was, as he continues to be now, locked up in his house with the two little children because the plague killed his wife; whereby truly one may say she is released from her toil and gone to her rest, the poor woman. He sent early to ask me for the 6 scudi for the love of God, saying they were dying of hunger, and as the month was almost at its end I sent him the money; he promised the receipt when he is beyond suspicion of contagion, and I will endeavor to hold him to that; if nothing else I will first see to these other disbursements, in the event you are not here to take care of them yourself, Sire, which I suspect on account of the excessive heat that is upon us.

The lemons that hung in the garden all dropped, the last few remaining ones were sold, and from the 2 lire they brought I had three masses said for you, Sire, on my own initiative.

I wrote to her ladyship the Ambassadress, as you told me to, and sent the letter to Signor Geri, but I do not have a reply, wherefore I suppose I might be wise to write again suggesting the possibility that either my letter or hers has gone astray. And here, sending you love with all my heart, I pray Our Lord to bless you.

From San Matteo, the 24th day of July 1633.

Your most affectionate daughter,
S. Maria Celeste

1995 Al Van Helden
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