Letters of Maria Celeste:
5 February 1633
Most Illustrious and Beloved Lord Father
The Bocchineri [Sestilia's] family have managed to bring me all the letters that you sent Sire, and from their number I feel certain I know how tired you must be of writing. I have not written to you until now, because I was waiting to hear word of your arrival in Rome; and having learned from this last letter of yours that you are required to spend so many days in such poor lodgings, deprived of every comfort, I am extremely distressed. Nevertheless, hearing that while you lack all internal and external consolations, you still maintain your health, I console myself and give thanks to blessed God, steadfastly confident that by His grace you will return to us Sire, with peace of mind and soundness of body. Meanwhile I entreat you to be as cheerful as you possibly can, and commend yourself to God, as He does not abandon those who put their trust in Him. Suor Arcangela and I are well, but I cannot say as much for Suor Luisa, who, since the day of your departure has been confined to bed with the same terrible pains that have stricken her in the past; and I am content to stay continually active and take charge of applying her treatments and waiting on her, as this emergency relieves my mind of dwelling too disturbingly on your absence.
Signor Rondinelli has not yet arrived to enjoy the convenience you so graciously granted him of using your house, Sire, explaining that his litigations have prevented him. But our father confessor has gone there often to look it over; he sends his regards to you, and so do the Mother Abbess and all our friends; Suor Arcangela and I with all our hearts and without ceasing pray Our Lord constantly to protect you and bless you. This enclosure I am sending you was found Monday by Giiuseppe [Galileo's servant boy] in the place where your letters are usually delivered.
From San Matteo, the 5th day of February 1632.*
Most affectionate daughter,
*On the Florentine calendar the new year began on 25 March.
©1995 Al Van Helden