This book opens on an argument between Kaethe and Dr Gregory. The destruction of the Divers picks up momentum as Nicole's illness increases and Dick is shown by Dr Gregory's wife to be debauched and an alcoholic "Dick is no longer a serious man" (261) Dick goes to Lausanne after the death of his female patient to discuss treating an alcoholic homosexual (homosexuality was considered an abnormality during the early part of the twentieth century). He finds out that Nicole's father is in Lausanne and on his deathbed wishing to see Nicole. Kaethe mistakenly tells Nicole who rushes to her father. Devereaux Warren however has been wrongly prognosed and moves to Paris before she sees him. Affairs at the clinic become complicated as one patient is removed because Dr Diver's alcoholic tendencies are sensed - it is smelled on his breath. Dr Gregory encourages him to leave the practice having found a new backer and Dick is left relieved, free from professional expectation:
"Not without desperation he had long felt the ethics of his profession dissolving into a lifeless mass" (276).
Their deluxe and moneyed lifestyle is followed and the fabulous luxury documented alongside the children's personalities. They have a dinner at Villa Diana, positionally it reflects the one held in the first book highlighting the change, loss of charm and fall of the Divers. Dick is given to slips and blunders and no longer orchestrates his guests happiness, but rather he offends Hosain's sister believing her to be a maid and loses an old friendship. Blemishes in their idyllic home life continue as Dick fights with an employee who loudly accuses him of alcoholism. Nicole even sees past her own sickness to notice his, "She guessed something was developing behind the silence, behind the hard, blue eyes... " (288).
At a party they meet Tommy Barban and Dick manages to insult a dinner guest. When Nicole is the one who worries and tries to find him we realise how he is the ill partner this time and she the stronger for it. Nicole realises Tommy is in love with her. They receive a telegram announcing Rosemary's arrival at Gausses. The beach has become a fashionable place, a "club". They meet Rosemary and Dick attempts the tricks of his youth, we can see Nicole's opposing strength as she humours Dick as she would a child and laughs at his showing off, "everything he did annoyed her now" (306). Rosemary notices a new bitterness in him. Nicole is no longer content to compliment and follow him, no longer happy to play "planet to Dick's Sun". She realises her independence "I'm practically standing alone without him" (311) and solicits Tommy Barban's company, making her person "into the trimmest of gardens" (312). She becomes under the sway of another and Fitzgerald follows Nicole and Tommy's affair. Dick guesses at the affair but tells Nicole that he doesn't want to know anything for definite - he finds it harder and harder to face reality, becomes a coward. His degradation allows her strength, she justifies herself against his superior intelligence and hypnotic will and walks away from him - her strength however is presented as a calculated reaction by her psychiatrist and husband. He weakened himself for her final cure:
"The case was finished. Doctor Dick was at liberty" (324)
Almost to lighten the tragedy the demise of the Divers marriage is interrupted with a farcical scene of Mary and Lady Caroline's arrest and argument with Gausse that Dick is called upon to smooth over. This scene is followed by the "showdown" (329) as Tommy, Nicole and Dick meet and the divorce and next marriage of Nicole and Tommy is discussed and arranged, "Nicole felt outguessed, realizing that from the episode of the camphor rub, Dick had anticipated everything" (333). Gradually he disappears from the life of Nicole and the children, from the profession of psychology and finally from Nicole's atlas.
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