Supplementary Appendix 17.1

Friedrich Wilhelm Gotter recounts the death of the first Countess of Werther, daughter of Juliane Franziska von Buchwald, in Zum Andenken der Frau von Buchwald (Gotha 1790), 52–54n11:

The cause of her death was a bone she had swallowed and then coughed up after nineteen days amid considerable blood. The physicians flattered themselves with having saved her, and the countess herself did not sense the danger she was in, or pretended to be stronger than she was so as not to alarm her mother and husband. Because Madam von Buchwald herself was feeling indisposed at the time, they preferred that she not visit her daughter. Toward nightfall, however, no persuading could assuage her discomfited heart. She demanded a litter and had them transport her there. On the steps, however, she encountered a servant, whom she queried concerning the condition of her ill daughter. The man was aghast and fell silent. “She is dead! My heart tells me so! She is surely dead!” With these words she hastened into the room. Those present tried to hold her back, but she pushed forward to the bed of the just deceased, seized her cold hand, pressed it to her heart, fell on her knees, and cried out in the most solemn tone, “The Lord gives, the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” She then rose, withdrew to an adjoining room, threw herself on the sofa, and prayed softly. No one had the courage to approach her. Finally they adjured her to consider her own health and to allow herself to be taken back to the castle. She gave in without shedding a tear, without uttering a word. The night was horrible. The next morning the duchess appeared; tears choked her words. She sat down next to her bed and sobbed violently. This look relieved the mother’s heavy heart; they wept together. The same happened during a second visit. Only on the following day did the wise connoisseur of the human heart [the duchess] try — not to console the suffering mother — but imperceptibly to focus her attention to other things.

Translation © 2011 Doug Stott