Tender is the Night Book Two, Chapter Eleven Summary
It’s August, and Dick and Elsie are talking at the Café des Alliees. She’s heard about what happened with Peterson dying in Rosemary’s bed, and how Dick saved the day, and though she doesn’t say it like this to Dick, Nicole’s breakdown.
She thanks him for his help and confirms that she and Rosemary are leaving tomorrow.
She tells him he was Rosemary’s first love, and admits she encouraged Rosemary to pursue him.
Dick thinks she didn’t consider the feelings of the parties involved, except perhaps Rosemary’s, but he thinks that because she’s an old woman, she can’t be accused of downright "cruelty."
Dick manages to tell her he doesn’t think Rosemary got hurt, and that she’s "already over it," even though he still terribly in love with her.
Elsie explains that he’s "an ideal" to Rosemary, that he’s an important person in her life.
He blurts out that he’s in love with her, and he deeply is, though he pretends to be casual about it all like Elsie.
When Dick leaves the meeting he realizes what a fascinating woman she is, apart from her being Rosemary’s mother.
Back at his place, he goes to his workroom and looks over the Psychology for Dummies-type book he published before, and is trying to get "reissued."
He has plans for another such book, and then to do a "more scholarly" book afterwards.
He does a little tidying up and then notices Nicole in the garden. He knows he has to hide his anguish over Rosemary from her forever. He remembers how he handled things after Nicole’s breakdown.
After the dead-guy-incident he quickly got their affairs in order, and got himself on and Nicole on the next train to their place, leaving Rosemary to fulfill her "Daddy’s Girl" image.
This had its price for him, and Nicole is waiting for it to show on him.
So he hides it well from her on the train. And even though she is sedated, she is happy to have him alone again.
At lunch he feels better, and drinks almost an entire bottle of wine.
Then Nicole brings up Rosemary and complimenting her, while Dick sort of insults Rosemary.
He’s planning on exorcizing Rosemary from his system soon, but hasn’t the strength to do it.
And he’s irritated with Nicole for breaking down twice in two weeks. First when Mrs. McKisco saw her in the bathroom, then in Paris when the man was shot.
He realizes that because it took her so long to get better after Topsy was born, that he has divided her in his mind into two different people: a sick one and a well one.
He isn’t sure if he is being personally cold toward her or professional toward her now. He laments that he’s unwillingly becoming her doctor, and hasn’t been cared for by her in the way he needs.
He thinks that the wounds that humans get in life never really heal or scar over, but remain open for life.