Letters of Maria Celeste:
Most Beloved Lord Father
Something in the peaceful air today gave me half a hope of seeing you again, Sire. Since you did not come, we were most pleased with the arrival of adorable little Albertino, along with our Aunt, giving us news that you are well and that you will soon be here to see us; yet my delight was all but destroyed when I learned that you have already returned to your usual labors in the garden, leaving me considerably disturbed; since the air is still quite raw, Sire, and you still weak from your recent illness, I fear this activity will do you harm. Please, Sire, do not forget so quickly the dire straits you were in, and have a little more love for yourself than for the garden; although I suppose it is not for love of the garden per se, but rather the joy you draw from it, that you put yourself at such risk. But in this season of Lent, when one is expected to make certain sacrifices, make this one, Sire: deprive yourself for a short while of the pleasure of the garden.
I wrote to you the other day to say that if by chance you had any more citrons, I would be most happy to have them and now I entreat you again, Sire, for if you could provide me with one or two, I would really be extremely pleased; if they are not your own homegrown ones, that will not matter, for what with Cavalier Marzi, who has become our Governor, due here this holy week to give us the holy water, Suor Luisa and I feel obligated to make him a gift of some of the specialties of our shop; and we were hoping to make him 4 of those delicacies he likes so much; the ones we made for you, Sire, are not yet dry, because the weather has not cooperated until today. I send you a few preserved grapes, and 6 pine cones for the children. I thank you for the meat, and because I am feeling so well now, I expect to resume the observance of Lent next Friday, and for that reason, Sire, you must not think of sending me any more: to close I offer my loving regards to you and to my Aunt; may blessed God grant you happiness.
Your most affectionate daughter,
©1995 Al Van Helden