Letters of Maria Celeste:
5 November 1633
Most Beloved Lord Father
Were you able to fathom my soul and its longing the way you penetrate the Heavens, Sire, I feel certain you would not complain of me, as you did in your last letter; because you would see and assure yourself how much I should like, if only it were possible, to receive your letters every day and also to send you one every day, esteeming this the greatest satisfaction that I could give to and take from you, until it pleases God that we may once again delight in each other's presence.
I believe nonetheless that from those few lines I wrote you so hurriedly, Sire, you could gather that they were written in the most limited time available, as I had none at all last Saturday when I could render you your proper due; and I do have every good intention (if you will grant me this) of following through with that tribute, because in these lamentations of yours I descry an excess of affection that motivates them, and I glory in it. I did try nevertheless to make good during the vigil of All Saints' Day by sending you a letter via Signor Geri, and because I believe that one has already reached you, I will not reply extensively to the questions you pose in this last one, except to say I have received the packet for Master Ippolito [Francini, another name for Il Tordo the lens-maker], which you had not sent me previously: and as for Geppo, to tell you that, after he brought me the boxes, he did not return to San Casciano, because Il Ninci no longer needed him: he will go back there in any case to see him again one day this coming week.
Good fortune has attended my ardent wish, enabling me to find the ortolans that you wanted, Sire, and I am just about to consign the box, with flour inside it, to the boy, commissioning him to go and get them at the game preserve, which is in the Boboli Gardens, from a bird-keeper of the Grand Duke named Berna or Bernino, from whom I bought them as a favor at one lira the pair, but judging by what Geppo tells me after having seen them yesterday, they are quite beautiful and to buy them from the poulterer would cost as much as two giuli: Signor Rondinelli will then graciously do us the favor of packing them in the box, because the boy would not have time to carry them all the way up here and then back down again once more, but will deliver them straight away to Signor Geri. May you enjoy them happily, Sire, and then tell me whether they were to your liking: there will be 20 as you wished.
I am called to the infirmary, wherefore I cannot say another word except that I send you my love together with the usual regards from the others, and especially Suor Luisa who fares considerably better, God be praised, and may He grant you, Sire, every true consolation.
From San Matteo, the 5th day of November 1633.
Your most affectionate daughter,
©1995 Al Van Helden