10 February 1560
Your Grace, it was such a sweet pleasure to visit with you and the inspired members of your salon. The Baroncelli is a wonderful villa which must bring you much pleasure and it is a marvelous venue for your august salon.
It was my great honor to read my work before such a luminous audience, including Vincenzo Borghini and Simone da Fortuna of the Florentine Academy, the humanist Pier Vettori, philologists Lionardo Salviati and Giovan Battista Deti and others. I was pleased that you also included the sculptor Giambolgona, the architect Bernardo Buontalenti, and your court painter Alessandro Allori. I congratulate you on your patronage of Allori. As your mother, The Duchess, gave patronage to Bronzino and helped develop his transcendent, exquisite Petrarchism, so I see in your patronage of Allori the blossoming of a modern humanist ethos and Aristotelian pragmatism in his work.
Forgive me Your Grace, but I also could not help but notice the sparkle in Troilo Orsini’s eye when he addressed you. Could there be something there? You may not know that while in Rome I dated his cousin, Emilio Orsini. I can assure you madam that not all Orsini are as stolid as Paolo.
It was most kind of you to worry about my future. It is true that we women live in a men’s world. As their fortunes come and go, so our fortunes, and our lives, often come and go. Perhaps we can only cheat the fate of our gender for so long. Still, like Scheherazade, if we can stay one step ahead of them, we may persevere, we may live another day.
Lastly your grace, while out in the countryside I came across a see’er who had a message for you. I pointed him in the direction of the Baroncelli Villa. Do see’ers need directions?? Nevertheless, I was pleased to assist the strange yet charismatic gentleman.