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Tender is the Night
by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Events / Book Three, Chapter Five
Tender is the Night Book Three, Chapter Five Summary
It’s April and Dick and Nicole are at their place on the Riviera. Nicole hears a commotion and then sees that Dick is fighting with the cook because the cook drank their fine wine. The cook is threatening him with her knife. The cook is a local, with connections, and she makes Dick give her more of a severance package than he offered, and she leaves, with violent comedy. That night Dick and Nicole have dinner together on the water, but they feel strained, like there are fewer and fewer words they can say to each other. Nicole asks Dick if they should stay locked into their situation. She accuses herself of having "ruined" Dick. She wants to know why he’s still in it. He says it pleases him to see her becoming a "stronger" person. Dick notices a ship in the harbor that belongs to one of Baby’s boyfriends, Golding, and wants to go crash their party. Nicole is apprehensive. They hire a boat to take them out and are quickly invited on board. Nicole is wary, but is much cheered when she sees a really tan Tommy Barban, who looks like he’s seen many lands in the five years they’ve been apart. He speaks French to her, and she teases him that she must have English. They fall into easy conversation, and Nicole notices the pretty lady who’d been talking to Tommy stomp off. Tommy says she’s Lady Caroline Sibly Biers, and Nicole observes her with interest. Dick and Nicole stay for dinner and Dick is sitting with Caroline. A song she wrote is being performed. Dick is talking trash to her about the English. Caroline walks off, and he harshly complains about the ways the English gossip. She comes back up and says he was talking trash about her county and her friend Mary. All she did was she was bring up the rumor she heard about him hanging out with sketch people in Lausanne (when he went to interview Senor Pardo y Ciudad Real and his son). Nicole is irritated with the scene and wishes Dick hadn’t brought them to the ship. Dick seems to get in control of himself though and talks normally with Golding. When Nicole doesn’t see Dick for about 30 minutes, she goes to look for him and finds him on the deck. Nicole expresses her desire to make Dick feel better, but he’s bitter toward her. He’s upset, and her earlier comment about ruining him. She’s scared and starts to cry, just before Tommy joins them and calms them down a bit. Then Nicole and Tommy dance, and Tommy tells Nicole she should tell Dick not to drink. She’s surprised to hear the suggestion that she could possibly tell him what to do. When they get back to dry land, Tommy drives them home and spends the night at their place.
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