Tender is the Night Book Two, Chapter Nine Summary
Nicole, Baby, and the Count qre waiting expectantly for Dick.
Soon the Count’s parents also arrive.
Baby and Dick talk alone about Nicole. Baby doesn’t know how to make sure she’s OK.
Dick says, "She’s a schizoid – a permanent eccentric," and that she’ll always do eccentric things.
Baby says she doesn’t know how to tell normal impetuous behavior from a relapse. She says she doesn’t mind being responsible for Nicole, but that she’s never encountered this situation.
She says she doesn’t know what happened to Nicole, but thinks it had to do with "a boy."
Dick watches Nicole charming Marmora’s dad, and thinks about what happened to her.
Baby says she plans to move with Nicole to the South Side of Chicago and get her in with the university crowd so she could marry a doctor.
Dick fought laughter at the idea of Nicole’s family being able to "buy her a […] doctor."
Baby suddenly notices Nicole’s absence and panics; Dick assures her it’s probably normal for her to seek solitude, and offers to find her.
He finds her outside. She seems to be waiting for him and he grows apprehensive. He says her sister sent him.
She explains that she was overwhelmed by the day and the music, and apologizes for worrying people.
Dick thinks that Dohmler must have put some antiquated ideas in her head, and that she needs more current information.
He tells her she’s "a nice person" and that she should keep trusting her instincts.
She asks him if he "likes" her, and he says he does. She asks him if she would be his type, if she hadn’t had a breakdown. He brushes her off with a snide comment about patients falling in love with their care-givers.
She gets mad and tells him to stop playing, and to understand that she does understand the nature of their relationship.
He tells her she’s pretty, but that he "couldn’t fall in love." She demands that he try. They kiss and he totally loves it.
She feels as if she’s won the battle and she walks off, sure he’s now hers, though she still feels scared. They kiss some more, and it starts to rain.
They come back inside all wet, and Dick is shocked by the idea that he will marry "a mental patient."
He goes back to his hotel, thinking he won’t be the bought doctor, but then remembers how sweet she is and feels sorry for the cruel thought.
The next day, after mountain climbing, there are two letters waiting for him. One from Nicole saying she was glad about yesterday, and one from Baby asking him if he could accompany Nicole back to Zurich.
Dick is pretty mad. He thinks Baby is insensitive for not understanding he planned to bike down, and worse, he thinks she’s trying to push Nicole at him.
Actually, even though Baby thinks he’s good looking, she doesn’t think he’s in their class, and she finds him stubborn and just not the right doctor for their family.
It would just be easier for her if Nicole could go back with him so she didn’t have to.
But – the trip did do what Dick thought Baby wanted it to.
He is a little sad to drop Nicole back at the clinic, but as he leaves, watching her, he knows that he will stay with her.