My Daughter Caterina,
La Madonna provides me with regular updates on your progress. She advises that your demeanor since your return to the Abbey has improved. She writes that you have renewed devotion to prayer as well as to needlework. Your Mother, may God rest her soul, was right to send you to the Suore of Santa Giulia. She understood that, like a horse found in the wild requires a Cavaliere to break it, you required the stern hand of religious devotion to set you right. The Suore of Santa Giulia she surmised could do just that for you. La Madonna’s account is testament to your Mother’s discernment.
Donna Laura has settled into her place in the household. I am pleased to inform you that she is with child. I pray that it is a boy and that at long last I will have an heir and successor to my title. Your mother was unable to provide me with a living son, leaving me instead with three daughters to dowry and wed, but no one to carry on the glory of our name. This child will rectify that failure. He will take over the business which has been my life’s work.
With my succession now in place, my mind turns to your marriageable state. My plan for you was to make a match with the della Scala princling. Truly, that is why you were called home when Bartolomeo visited us. I thought your beauty and refinement would sufficiently beguile the young Prince of Verona to warrant a marriage proposal. Silvestri provided me a daily account of your besotted activities with the young man whilst you and he were in Lucca. Based on Silvestri’s reports I was confident that you had scored a match! But since Bartolomeo’s return home to Verona, I have received no word from his father, the great Prince Escalus. I, therefore, reason that your charms were not sufficiently enticing to extract an offer of marriage.
In your effort to gain Bartolomeo’s favor, it seems you may have been too free in sharing your charms with him. What may have seemed to you in the moment a means of enticing him, now makes you worthless in the transaction of marriage. Silvestri observed that Bartolomeo departed swiftly after your mother’s death and that his bedsheets appeared stained with despoilment.
Your Mother extracted a promise from me that I would marry all her girls to men, not Christ. She had a sentimental heart; she desired you all to know the love of a child of your own body. My honor requires that I do what I can to keep that oath, but your gamble may prove your undoing.
Your sister Agneta has received interest from a suitor. He is lowly born but recently wealthy. Propriety requires that I settle your future before considering hers, as you are the oldest child. Therefore I must resolve the question of your fate quickly.
Let me be clear; you will be governed by me child. I will determine the best way forward for our title and the honor of our name. You will await my word. Until I make my decision, you will make yourself comfortable in the Abbey, for there you may remain until the end of your days.
Lord Interminelli, Lucca