Letters of Maria Celeste:
28 May 1633
Most Illustrious and Beloved Lord Father
From the enclosure written to me today by Signor Rondinelli you will be able to gain full comprehension, Sire, of the conditions in Florence and its environs concerning the plague; and seeing as they are fairly good just now, and you almost fully released from your affairs, I truly hope that you will not have to delay your return to us much longer, as we are awaiting you with such longing; therefore I pray you not to let the ineffable kindness of those most Excellent Lords bind you to them so tightly that we must be deprived of you for the whole summer. Great indeed has been their generosity up until now, nor will it ever be possible to repay all the favors and kindnesses bestowed on you and shared by us.
I want you to pay our usual respects to your hosts, Sire, especially to Her Most Excellent Ladyship the Ambassadress. Moreover I will be most appreciative if upon your return you will bring me a little starch, as you did the last time; and I remind you of the two portraits that I asked you for, a while ago.
As for the garden, according to what I hear from La Piera, the beans have formed the most beautiful verdure, climbing as tall as she is, but the fruit has been small and not very good, and the same for the artichokes, which I understand were much better last year: nonetheless there were enough for the house, for us, and also some went to Vincenzio and to Signor Geri.
The orange trees still do not have a great quantity of flowers, and I expect the cold and wind that have dominated these past few days have done them considerable damage; those that fall, La Piera gathers and makes into juice. The lemons are so ripe that they require you, Sire, to come and harvest them, and from time to time, whenever one of them drops, it proves to be truly beautiful and most delicious. This is as much as the duties of the apothecary will permit me to tell you, since Suor Luisa and another of my companions are purging their systems, and I am consequently alone at work. I send you loving regards from all our usual friends, and also from Suor Barbara and Suor Prudenza, and I pray the Lord God to keep you.
From San Matteo, the 28th day of May 1633.
Your most affectionate daughter,
©1995 Al Van Helden
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