The Riccaut-like figure of the Royal Lieutenant himself, Count Thorane, and his outlandish attempts to speak German, the clever portraits of the dignified father and the cheerful mother, and the unhistorical sketch of little Wolfgang, with his pleased and precocious anticipation of his future laurels, are woven by means of witty dialogue into an amusing, though not very coherent or logical whole.

The Comte Thorane could no longer complain of dissimulation. His first movement was to order an arrest; and the official interpreter of the French army took to himself the whole credit that he did not carry it into effect. Goethe takes the trouble to report a dialogue, of length and dulness absolutely incredible, between this interpreter and the comte.

The middle story, which Count Thorane had formerly occupied, was given up to a cavalier of the Palatinate; and as Baron von Koenigsthal, the Nuremburg /charge-d'affaires/, occupied the upper floor, we were still more crowded than in the time of the French.

These dissensions, however, were pursued with not much personal risk to any of the Goethes, until a French army passed the Rhine as allies of the imperialists. One corps of this force took up their quarters in Frankfort; and the Comte Thorane, who held a high appointment on the staff, settled himself for a long period of time in the spacious mansion of Goethe's father.

"Only a little delay, count." "Neighbor, you think to mislead me into a false step: you shall not succeed." "I would neither lead you into a false step nor restrain you from one: your resolution is just, it becomes the Frenchman and the king's lieutenant; but consider that you are also Count Thorane." "He has no right to interfere here." "But the gallant man has a right to be heard."

It Will be readily understood, therefore, how it happened, that, whilst Goethe's gentle minded mother, with her flock of children, continued to be on the best terms with Comte Thorane, the master of the house kept moodily aloof, and retreated from all intercourse. Goethe, in his own Memoir, enters into large details upon this subject; and from him we shall borrow the denouement of the tale.

But even this sympathy in respect to art could not change my father's feelings nor bend his character. He permitted what he could not prevent, but kept at a distance in inactivity; and the uncommon state of things around him was intolerable to him, even in the veriest trifle. Count Thorane behaved himself, meanwhile, in an exemplary manner.

"Spangenberg," replied the other. "And mine," said the count, "is Thorane. Spangenberg, what is your business with Thorane? Now, then, let us sit down: the affair shall at once be settled."

This was, according to his way of thinking, the greatest misfortune that could happen to him. Yet, could he have taken the matter more easily, he might have saved himself and us many sad hours, for he spoke French well, and it was the Count Thorane, the king's lieutenant, who was quartered on us.

Frankfort was full of French soldiers, and a certain Comte Thorane, who was quartered in Goethe's house, had an important influence on the boy. Goethe, if we may believe his autobiography, experienced his first love about the age of fifteen in the person of Gretchen, whom some have supposed to be the daughter of an innkeeper at Offenbach. He worshipped her as Dante worshipped Beatrice.