Chapter 1 (sections i-v)
* The author opens by stating his misgivings about writing the story he is about to narrate.
* The story starts with the narrator meeting Elliott Templeton for lunch in Chicago.
* Elliott meets the narrator at his hotel and tells him they are going to have lunch at the home of Louisa Bradley, with Louisa, her daughter, Isabel, and a renowned decorator, Gregory Brabazon.
* At the lunch, Elliott and the narrator meet Laurence Darrell, Isabel's fiance.
* Elliott later tells the narrator that Laurence is twenty-years-old and not looking seriously for a job. The author thinks Laurence probably needs a break after the war.
* Elliott and the narrator depart with plans to meet Mrs. Bradley at her home the following evening.
Chapter 1 (sections vi-x)
* At a dinner party the following night, the author is seated next to a young woman named Sophie. She gives him a brief bio...
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