Letters of Maria Celeste:
8 October 1633
Most Beloved Lord Father
Signor Rondinelli, who inspected the kegs of white wine again, told me there were three extremely good ones, as I notified you, Sire, and then, when I questioned him about their capacity, he replied that I had no need to inform you about this, because you already knew roughly what that was: he assured me there were additional kegs, but that he did not feel he could promise them to be of the same quality: this week he has not been able to come up here, nor has it been possible for him, on that account, to make another new assessment; but I have made one myself which I do not think will displease you, and it is this, that in our cellar are 3 or 4 casks of various sizes, one of 6, one of 5 and the other of four barrels in capacity, which every year we fill with our white verdea wine, as is our custom, but because this year we did not make even one drop of it, I have reserved them for you, Sire, because I am certain they are sound, with the authority to deliver them to your wine cellar so they can be filled there when you send the wine, and for the wine to be left in those casks until you can decant it yourself in your own way, or for the entire year, if that seems best: you can in any event let me hear your thoughts on all this. The wine from San Miniato has not yet been distributed: in return for the wine we gave away, meanwhile, we have recovered one barrel from the farmers here, and had it put into the cask which formerly held that spoiled wine; which cask was of course first set to rights; the wine from the garden has not yet been drawn from the fermenting vat: at my behest, Signor Rondinelli had a word with the blacksmith about the 3 barrels that he owes us, and brought back his solemn promise on that score.
It was not that I kept silent about the receipt of the six wheels of cheese, Sire, but rather that my language, for being very coarse, must have escaped your comprehension, since I had every intention of including you, or to say it better, acknowledging you, in the thanks that I said I wanted you to extend on our behalf to Monsignor Archbishop, from whom you wrote that the gift had come. I meant to do the same in regard to the buffalo eggs, but, assuming they were intended for Geppo and his father, I left the whole lot to them, and said no more about it.
I should also have thanked you for the most excellent wine that Monsignore sent us, which almost every one of the nuns has tasted, and Suor Giulia made her portion into a soup.
I thank you, too, for the letter you sent me for Doctor Ronconi, which, after having read it myself with great pleasure, I sealed and delivered into his hands yesterday morning, where it was received most courteously. I am delighted to hear of your good health and peace of mind, and that your pursuits are so well suited to your tastes, as your current writing seems to be, but for love of God may these new subjects not chance to meet the same luck as past ones, already written.
I want to know if you are still enjoying the conversation of Monsignor Archbishop, or if he has gone off to the villa, as Geppo told me he had heard would happen; an event that I feel certain would have caused you considerable mortification.
Suor Luisa remains in bed surrounded by physicians and physics, but the pains are somewhat mitigated with the help of the Lord God, whom I pray, Sire, to grant you His holy grace. I give you greetings from everyone here, and I commend you to God.
From San Matteo in Arcetri, the 8th day of October 1633.
Your most affectionate daughter,
La Piera has just this moment told me that the wine from the garden will amount to one barrel and 2 or 3 flasks, and that she plans to mix it with that from the local farmers, because by itself it is very weak: the San Miniato wine is expected today, or so the servant of Signor Niccolò [Cini] said up till the day before yesterday, and now I believe him.
©1995 Al Van Helden