The first person he visits, Fräulein A, sounds a bit like “New Sun’s” Agia and a bit like Cinderella. No father in the picture, only a mother. She’s poor, works hawking good in a central market place, but seeks to be garbed in all the fancy clothing that appears to allow others to be in the DreamMaster’s fine hall and enjoy his fine company, as if naturally owed it. Trying out a strategy, she wears all the fancy clothing she sells and so by appearance now looks like all the other hall’s guests, but to no avail: she remains seen and spotted out, deemed again and again suspect — the odd one out — and rejected anyway. The DreamMaster — here, the fatherly master of the grand hall — would seem to be perhaps the father who died in her early youth. She might in her dreams have interpreted what she was missing, with all her life in contact with only her mother and her world of dressmaking, was some contact with a father, and that the father was not there for having deemed her unworthy (this is not reasonable as she knows at some level his early death had nothing to do with her, but the text… via the detective’s musings, refers to a perhaps deeper truth that reason by itself can’t divine but that dreams reveal). The dream brings nightmares but it does also bring some fatherly contact: at the very least, the Father notices her, even if only to reject her once again (the dream also reflects that suffering, which in her own life is shown to mean perhaps drawing sympathy towards her — she herself cries thinking of the terribly hard, long-working-hrs lives those who made the dresses she sells must have had — does mean some fatherly remorse over what he must nevertheless be forced to inflict on you). The suitors referenced in the text are rejected because she is seeking engagement with a man who rejected her, not someone who is drawn to her. Repitition-compulsion of past ostensible Fatherly rejection, to perhaps somehow conquer him. The protagonist Green in “There are Doors” has the same compulsion: drawn only to one who rejects him, ostensibly for something being deeply wrong with them that can’t be masked. Just as surface reason is reduced in its efficacy in this text — what Freud and his unconscious did to the Enlightenment man of reason — surface appearance (ego) are mocked by something deep within (id).
Herr R__ sounds a bit like “Long Sun’s” Blood. Started off poor, and again, no father, only a Mother. Fräulein A wore the dresses her mother passed down to her, Herr R__ buys his mother a house and in his dreams, visits a grand house that he says is infested with a spirit of the DreamMaster’s mother. Just like the DreamMaster rejected Fraulein A even as she appeared to look the same as his accepted guests, Herr R__ is rejected — very harshly — by the DreamMaster, even though it would seem he has in abundance what the DreamMaster requires of him: riches. He is not worthy of the DreamMaster no much how much money he makes, for unlike the DreamMaster, who has a pianist’s hands, his proletariat/street background never quite disappears from him, as was the same with Blood and his lingering language expressions learned on the street. Mimicking the harsh rejection he suffers from the Father, he humiliates a servant who owes him a huge amount of money. Thereby to some extent he takes within him — through replicating his action — some sense of the Father that was missing in his life. This is not so much an expression of sin, but unconscious portrayal and criticism of the Father’s manner of interaction. Father is being put on notice.
The Countess is not under the power of the DreamMaster, but has him under her power. Her husband is about to have him shot. There is a sense of culmination through these tales, of rising ability to defeat the DreamMaster. We sensed this in Herr R–‘s tale, when he confronted the DreamMaster, informing him it was possible to make resolution if only he’d accept money from the world he comes from, if only he’d be reasonable rather than pig-headed. There’s a rise in class status. Fraulein A was proletariat. Herr R, once even worse poor, but now risen to be bourgeoise, indeed a factory owner — new wealth aristocracy. And the Countess, solid old-wealth royalty. As if they represent the same patient but sequentially improved, like the members of the Triumverate in “Free, Live Free” are as they through their actions fold more substance into themselves through time, there is perhaps a sense that the DreamMaster senses that his subjects are increasing in their ability to take him on, and rather than find himself defeated, disappears into a sacrifice. He then infuses himself into them all, giving them eternal life, so they might be purchased out of expressing their fury out on him. He, the Father who was not in any of their lives, vanishes from an overt perpetrator — which is what he amounts to in the first two patients’ lives — to becoming a kind of benign presence that infuses rather than refutes you, like Pas did after Echidna sought to take him out. Indeed, there is something of the transition of Typhon-into-Pas operating in this tale with how the DreamMaster changes from hard patriarch into someone subterranean but still powerful.
Not discussed here are the occasional glimpses of profound terror that exists in each of the dreams — monsters, beasts. There’s a sense perhaps here of the grime that at least two of the protagonists knew of in their childhood’ life, stuff they’re trying to push away from memory, aggregating and finally arising to encompass you. I’ll have to revisit.