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The White Dove
by [?]

THE little Lina opened her eyes upon this world in the arms of her father, the good Gotleib. He kissed the child with a holy joy: “For,” said he, “now is a thought of God fixed in an eternal form;” and he felt that a Divine love flowed into this work of the great God–this also thrilled his warm, manly heart with a wondrous love. He felt the inmost of his being vibrating as with an electric touch, to the inmost of the little new-born innocent. But the rapture of the young father was altogether imperfect, until he had sealed his lips in a love-kiss upon those of the fraulein Anna, who lay there so white and beautiful in the new joy of a young mother. Like an innocent maiden, she twined her arms around Gotleib’s neck, and grew strong in the influx of warm life that flowed into her responsive cares of the husband of her heart. Then Gotleib held up the newly-born Lina, and the mother’s lips touched the soft cheek of the tiny little one with a living rapture, as if all of Heaven were embraced in this heart-possession.

And Gotleib knelt by the bedside, and thanked God for the beautiful gift of love with a pious awe and holy joy–large tears stood in the eyes of Anna. As he rose from his reverent posture, he kissed off the bright tears even as the sun exhales dew-drops from a pure flower, and said,

“Dost thou weep for joy, sweet one?”

And Anna said,

“Once–not long since–I had a dream–a beautiful dream–that this day has been realized. I dreamed that I was in a quite heavenly place–yet the place was as nothing–it was the state–for I sat with an infant in my arms–a bright innocent little one–and, thou, dearest Gotleib, knelt beside me; and an angel-woman stood near us, in a soft heavenly glory, and said, in low musical, spirit-words–‘Behold the fruit of the union of good and truth.’ And then, methought, thou didst embrace me with a new joy of love, and whispered, ‘an angel of God is born of us.’ This little one is the dream-child, dear Gotleib.”

Thus beautiful was the birth of the little Lina, who grew, daily, in a pure innocent loveliness. While she is expanding in the first days of her new, breathing, sensitive life, we will go back to the former life of Gotleib and Anna.

Gotleib Von Arnheim had first seen the light in this same small cottage, on the confines of the Black Forest of Germany. He was born with a large, loving heart. But the father and mother, and the dear God, were the only beings on whom his affections were fixed; for his sensitive nature shrank from the contact of the honest-hearted, but rough peasant neighbours, that made the little world of their simple life. But soon death came, and the good father left the earth for the beautiful Heaven-world. The little Gotleib missed his kind father; but his mother told him of the bright inner life, and how his father yet lived and loved him; and the heart of the boy was comforted: he felt a sense of elevation in having his father, whom he had known so familiarly here upon earth, now the companion of angels, and living in such a bright and beautiful world.

Ah, life had to him such an inner beauty; and, when still, dreamy moments of leisure intervened between his work and play, he revelled in such dreams of fancy, as lent light and life and joy to his whole being. But the death of the kind father had not only carried the boy’s fancy to the other world; it was also drawing the mother’s heart away to the fair spirit-land. Gotleib saw his mother’s face growing thin and pale; he knew that she was weak–for oftentimes, in the long winter evenings, as he read to her from the holy word of God, her hand would drop wearily with the raised spindle, and she, who was never before idle, would fold her hands in a quiet, meek resignation. At such times a tremour would seize the boy’s heart. The mother saw it; and, one night, when his fixed tender gaze rested on her, she raised her spiritual eyes to his, and said,