The extraordinary forbearance with which Galileo continually placed his time, his purse, and his influence at the service of those who had repeatedly proved themselves utterly unworthy of his countenance, is thus commented on by the good nun.--
"Now it seems to me, dearest lord and father, that your lordship is walking in the right path, since you take hold of every occasion that presents itself to shower continual benefits on those who only repay you with ingratitude. This is an action which is all the more virtuous and perfect as it is the more difficult."
When the plague was raging in the neighbourhood, the loving daughter's solicitude is thus shown:--
"I send you two pots of electuary as a preventive against the plague. The one without the label consists of dried figs, walnuts, rue, and salt, mixed together with honey. A piece of the size of a walnut to be taken in the morning, fasting, with a little Greek wine."
The plague increasing still more, Sister Maria Celeste obtained with much difficulty, a small quantity of a renowned liqueur, made by Abbess Ursula, an exceptionally saintly nun. This she sends to her father with the words:--
"I pray your lordship to have faith in this remedy. For if you have so much faith in my poor miserable prayers, much more may you have in those of such a holy person; indeed, through her merits you may feel sure of escaping all danger from the plague."
Whether Galileo took the remedy we do not know, but at all events he escaped the plague.
[PLATE: THE VILLA ARCETRI. Galileo's residence, where Milton visited him.]
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