Letters of Maria Celeste:
3 August 1633
Most Beloved Lord Father
I write these few lines in great haste so as not to disobey your precept that I never let a week go by without writing. As for the wine that was decanted, it seems to be quite improved in color, and La Piera finds it not at all unpleasant so she continues drinking it: we have finally found willing takers for the 3 barrels worth that we must give away; 2 the smith will take, a half to Ambra's employee, and half for Domenico who works nearby on the Bini family's farm: we are looking to give away one more, because in the end I would not want to discard any of it, and the rest, which will be another barrel or a little more, will be consumed by the servants, because it does please them so, and also Suor Arcangela will not have to be begged to help them along.
In the dovecote there are two pairs of pigeon chicks waiting for you to come in person, Sire, to pronounce their final sentence. The harvest of lemons will prove fully satisfactory if the crop continues on like this, but the Seville oranges and the Portuguese oranges put out few flowers, and from those few only a tiny number matured; indeed there is not a single survivor from the whole grove.
The bread that can be bought for eight quattrini is large and white. The straw for the mule will be provided: as for fodder, there is no point in thinking of it, because of the scarcity of grass this year, besides which, La Piera says, Madame Mule does not care for it much, but you may recall, Sire, how last year she used it to make her bed softer. Recently she has had some soreness in her mouth, because her stomach is so sensitive, they say, that drinking something cold may have made her sick, which has been a trial for La Piera. Now she is better.
You did well to open the letter from her most gracious ladyship the Ambassadress, to whom I should like to be able to send for a present some delicacy together with the crystal, whenever the roads reopen. Signor Geri has not yet come by. For now I can say no more to you Sire, except that I was most pleased with all the news you gave me in your last letter, concerning the tributes and satisfactions you are receiving over there. And I greet you lovingly, and I pray Our Lord to bless you.
From San Matteo, the 3rd day of August 1633.
Your most affectionate daughter,
©1995 Al Van Helden