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his friends, engroffed his time, and prevented the recollection of his cares from preying on his mind. Scarcely, however, had he recovered his health and fpirits, when he was again plunged into the deepest affliction by the lofs of his amiable wife, who, after many years of lingering fufferance, and pious refignation, expired in his arms, on the 23d of June, 1770; an event which he has defcribed in the following Work with elegant tenderness and fenfibility. The deep and poignant forrow he felt on this misfortune, increased the local complaint under which he laboured to fo dreadful a degree, that he was obliged, on the 11th of June, 1771, to repair to Berlin, and place himself under the care of M. Mickel, a celebrated furgeon, for the purpose of undergoing an operation. It was performed with great kill; and he received fuch perfect relief, as to be able to enjoy fociety always with vivacity, and frequently with eafe. This period, indeed, feems to have been the happiest of his life he had the inexpreffible graPage 246.
tification of finding himself relieved from a long and cruel complaint, of enjoying the charms of a moft agreeable private fociety, of being univerfally received with the greatest attention, and of becoming acquainted with many literary characters in Germany. His reception on his return to Hanover was equally pleasing, and he flattered himself that he fhould at last enjoy a permanent state of health. But he seemed, alas! destined to experience a conftant viciffitude of pleasure and of pain; for, in à fhort time after his return, he experienced another fource of inquietude in the death of his wife's mother, who, except his fon and daughter, whofe education she had undertaken to fuperintend, was the only companion of his domeftic hours. His children too, thofe common comforts to a parent under affliction, were to him additional caufes of the keenest anguishand the deepeft diftrefs. His daughter had, from her earlieft infancy, difcovered fymptoms of confumption, fo ftrong: and inveterate as to defy all the powers
of medicine. During their refidence in Swifferland, a young man, as hand"fome in his person as he was amiable "in the qualities of his mind," had, after a long intimacy, conceived a violent attachment for her: he was "the "object of her firft, of her only affec"tion;" and it was mutually agreed by their parents to unite them, in proper time, in the bands of matrimony; but, foon after her removal to Hanover, it feems that, for fome caufe, which does not clearly appear, he put a period to his existence. This dreadful event gave a violent shock to her feeble constitution, and threw her into a languishing complaint, which at length ended in a hæmorrhage of the lungs, and in the fummer of 1781 deftroyed her life. The character of this amiable girl, and the feelings of her afflicted father on this melancholy event, his own pen has very affectingly defcribed in the following .Work.*
But the state and condition of his fon was still more diftreffing to his feelings *Page: 257
than even the death of his beloved daughter. This unhappy youth, who, while he was at the univerfity, difcovered the fineft fancy and the foundest underftanding, either from a malignant and inveterate fpecies of fcrophula, with which he had been periodically tortured from his earlieft infancy, or from too close an application to ftudy, fell very early in life into a ftate of bodily infirmity and mental languor, which terminated, in the month of December, 1777, in a total derangement of his faculties; and he has now continued, in fpite of every endeavour to restore him, a perfect idiot for more than twenty years.
The domeftic comforts of Zimmerman were now almost entirely destroyed: he had no one, except Madame de Dering, the fifter of M. Strube, Secretary of State, with whom he could "hold com"munion fweet and large;" and the, to complete his mifery, was obliged foon afterwards to leave Hanover, and attend her husband to a diftant part of Germany, where he had lately been appoints ed to a new employment. The unhappy
and comfortless fituation of Zimmerman, Jwith whom he had lived on terms of the purest friendship during his refidence at Hanover, made a deep impreffion on ther mind, and called forth all the tendereft feelings of her heart. Wifely conceiving that the only chance of preventing him from falling a victim to his affections, was by uniting him once more in matrimony with fome object worthy of his choice, the carefully examined the character and difpofition of her female friends, and at length fixed upon the daughter of M. Berger, the King's Phyfician at Lunenbourg, and niece to Baron de Berger, as a perfon in every refpect qualified to make him happy. Madame de Dering managed the introduction with great delicacy and addrefs; and had the pleasure to obferve, foon afterwards, that the fentiments of the parties correfponded perfectly with her own. A friendship founded on a reciprocity of tafte and difpofition, ripened very quickly into the tendereft doin affection; and they were united to each about the beginning