We are thrown back in time to 1917 where we meet the younger Dr Diver - the "very acme of bachelorhood" (129) who hasn't been sent to war because as a doctor he is too much of a capitol investment, we learn he is influenced by Freud. We see him in Zurich researching and his connections with Dr Dohmler's clinic on the Zurichsee, "a rich person's clinic" (133). The war has affected him little he reports to Franz Gregorovious but he does had feedback on the case of Nicole Warren. He has been corresponding with her throughout the war and through the letters a "transference of the most fortuitous kind" occurred (134) and Nicole's condition improved. We are shown this for our own judgement and observation in the series of letters that follow as they show pathological and then normal nature.
We are given Nicole's background as the meeting of Dr Dohmler and her father Devereux Warren is staged, we are given the symptoms of her madness as she talks crazily of men and their advances towards her. Dr Dohmler classifies her as a schizophrenic "Divided personality... the fear of men is a symptom of the illness"(TN 143). Warren's confession comes in a second meeting with Dr Dohmler; behind his good looking façade lies the tragedy and sickness of the incest that lies at the heart of his relations with Nicole, his daughter. The doctors forbid Warren contact with his daughter for a minimum of five years and they watch her gradual restoration. Franz warns Dick to be careful with Nicole and not to get involved romantically. We are given insights into the doctor's worlds and aspirations in psychology.
Nicole and Dick meet; she is irresistible in her youth and beauty and plays him records and sings to him. She grows in confidence and excitement. Dick ironically works on his A Psychology for Psychiatrists and Franz warns him that the patient Nicole is in love with him and Dr Dohmler suggests that despite the attachment on Dick's side he should never see her again. They settle on indifference and Nicole is hurt by Dick's treatment and both are left feeling discontent and dissatisfied.
Dick continuing his work and solitary life visits the mountains and bumps into Nicole with Marmora and her sister. Baby Warren discusses Nicole with Dick and her plan to get Nicole married off to a doctor. Dick is sent to find Nicole and they kiss for the first time, a storm breaks on their return to the hotel. They decide to marry, Dick is tried by Baby Warren as to his motives, suspicious that he is a gold digger. We are given a short insight into Nicole's feelings as there follows a stream of consciousness- like narrative about her first years of marriage, he pregnancies, life with Dick, how things got dark, the move to the quiet Riviera and the people there.
We are then taken up to the point at the end of Book One as Dick Diver and Mrs Speers (Rosemary's mother) meet and say their goodbyes with mutual respect. Dick and Nicole leave Paris and he is dedicated to soothing her, trying to do some more work on his psychology pamphlet and working against the signs of Nicole's new phase of sickness. He spends his days torn between wanting and missing Rosemary and hiding these feelings from Nicole. The strains of his lifestyle become apparent as Nicole's problems and her money and riches confuse his work swamp his income and attempts at independence.
The family goes skiing with Baby Warren and meet up with Franz who suggests a business venture between Dr Diver and himself. He approaches him for the financial aid - he wants to set up a clinic for rich Americans. The next chapter opens at the Eglantine clinic at Zurgesee. The venture has been successful; Nicole has designed the buildings whilst Dr Diver and Dr Gregory (Franz) treat the patients. We are given details of the American woman who psychology is reflected in her skin, she is covered in sores. It is a foreboding sign of disintegration. Dick struggles between his role of psychiatrist and husband as an ex-patient sends a letter to Nicole detailing an affair Dick has had. She loses control of herself again in Dick's eyes and he feels guilty despite his innocence of that particular crime. He cannot watch her disintegration and pleas for help without agony and feeling it himself because "she was Dick too" (209). In her hysteria she attacks him whilst he is driving their family and the car swerves off the road. As a result Dick is filled with a sense of danger and disgust.
He decides to go away on his own to Munich where he meets Tommy Barban and finds out that Abe North is dead, beaten to death in a speakeasy, throwing Dick into sorrow for his friend and his own youth.
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