Eleanor figures out Daisy's sources regarding Nick's supposed girlfriend.
Commence more unknown namedropping:
Moses Tang was at dinner in Surrey where Nick's second cousin Cassandra (Radio One Asia) was "holding court" (1.7.2).
Cassandra says loudly at the table to Nick's aunt Victoria that he's dating a Taiwanese girl and bringing her to the Khoo wedding.
It's on good authority that Rachel's of the Taipei Plastics Chus. "Not exactly old money, but at least they are one of the most solid families in Taiwan," according to Cassandra (1.7.2).
Because Cassandra's information is typically "dead accurate," Eleanor puts stock in the gossip (1.7.3). After all, Cassandra is known to have spies across the globe.
Eleanor is annoyed that she didn't know Nick had a girlfriend.
We learn Eleanor's theory on men: marriage is purely timing—whoever is there when a man feels ready to marry is the one. Most Young men are ripe in the early 30s: her husband was and now it's Nick's time.
A little of Eleanor's crazy flag starts to show as she assumes that Nick "purposely hadn't mentioned" Rachel and that her "meticulously laid plans" are about to be derailed (1.7.5).
She has an ability to calculate a person's place in the social universe by knowing their name and where they lived.
She uses this to evaluate the Taipei Chus, but because they are new money, she knows "next to nothing" about them. This makes her feel "particularly anxious" (1.7.8).
Desperate, she needs to know "what she's up against" (1.7.8). We're suddenly concerned about these plans Eleanor has…
Knowing full well it's 6:45 in the morning for Nick, she calls him anyway, leaving a voicemail for him to call with flight details.
Forgetting Astrid is in Paris, she calls her. The two discuss shopping at first, to Astrid's annoyance since she's just been woken up.
Eleanor then asks Astrid about Nick coming to Singapore and says she wants to throw Nick and his girlfriend a surprise "welcome to Singapore" party. She asks Astrid if this is a good idea.
Surprised by her aunt's kindness, Astrid assumes Nick had charmed his mother into being excited about Rachel.
Fishing for information, Eleanor finds out Astrid met Rachel over a year ago, she seems very American-ized ("How horrible," Eleanor thinks), and Astrid doesn't recall knowing that she's from Taiwan (1.7.35).
Wanting to give Rachel the best advantage, Astrid tries to present the best of Rachel: she's smart, a professor, schooled at Stanford and Northwestern.
Eleanor interjects a disdainful thought for each detail and assumes Rachel is "a cunning, calculating older woman" (1.7.44).
Saying she's getting a cake, Eleanor asks how to spell Rachel's last name.
Astrid and Eleanor talk about homes and real estate, with Eleanor self-deprecating about her "small little pigeon-hole" (1.7.56).
Astrid wonders "for the millionth time why all her relatives constantly tried to outdo each other in proclaiming their poverty" (1.7.57). Yeah, us, too.
Before hanging up, Eleanor discloses the small pharmacy she takes to fall asleep at night.
She feels satisfied with the information she gained from her talk with her niece.