MY SISTER HENRIETTE
Who Died at Byblus on the 24th of September, 1861
Dost thou recall, from the bosom of God where thou reposest, those long days at Ghazir, in which, alone with thee, I wrote these pages, inspired by the places we had visited together? Silent at my side, thou didst read and copy each sheet as soon as I had written it, whilst the sea, the villages, the ravines, and the mountains, were spread at our feet. When the overwhelming light had given place to the innumerable army of stars, thy shrewd and subtle questions, thy discreet doubts, led me back to the sublime object of our common thoughts. One day thou didst tell me that thou wouldst love this book -- first, because it had been composed with thee, and also because it pleased thee. Though at times thou didst fear for it the narrow judgments of the frivolous, yet wert thou ever persuaded that all truly religious souls would ultimately take pleasure in it. In the midst of these sweet meditations, the Angel of Death struck us both with his wing: the sleep of fever seized us at the same time -- I awoke alone!... Thou sleepest now in the land of Adonis, near the holy Byblus and the sacred stream where the women of the ancient mysteries came to mingle their tears. Reveal to me, O good genius, to me whom thou lovedst, those truths which conquer death, deprive it of terror, and make it almost beloved.