Letters of Maria Celeste:
4 January 1629
Most Beloved Lord Father
It suits me to believe, Sire, that you must be extremely occupied these days, or else you would have come to see us; wherefore, wanting to learn more, I have resolved to write to you again, telling you that I need not know the date of the betrothal visit until it pleases you, Sire, being content with hearing only a few days in advance, and also I will take advantage of your loving offer to help me, since, with discretion, and considering my circumstances, you can easily judge that my own powers fall far short of expressing my true feelings or giving my proper due. Here then is a list of the more costly items that we will need for making a platter of pastries, leaving the less expensive ingredients to me. After this, Sire, you will be able to see if you want me to make other dishes for you, such as savory meat pastries, and the like; because I firmly believe you would spend less this way than buying them already prepared by the grocer, and we will apply ourselves to making them with the utmost possible care. What I want above all is for you to tell me your feelings about presenting a gift to the betrothed, because I do not want to do anything that is not to your liking, Sire. My thoughts lean toward making her a beautiful apron, so as to give her something that would be useful, and not require a great expenditure for us, since we could do all the work ourselves; not to mention that we have no idea how to make the high collars and ruffs that ladies are wearing nowadays.
I might think I had blundered, Sire, examining you on these many trifles, if I were not absolutely certain that you, in small details just as in great matters, exercise by far the soundest judgment of anyone. And therefore I leave everything to you. And to close I send you loving greetings together with Suor Arcangela and again to Vincenzio. May the Lord bless you.
From San Matteo, the 4th day of January 1628.* You will be able to send back with the steward the basket from the collars with the 3 covers, namely a dirty apron, a towel, and a handkerchief.
Your most affectionate daughter,
*On the Florentine calendar the new year began on 25 March
©1995 Al Van Helden