Study Guide

Tender is the Night Book Four, Chapter Four

By F. Scott Fitzgerald

Book Four, Chapter Four

  • Dick and Nicole travel and then go back to the Riviera. Dick uses the time to focus on the kids, who are now nine (Topsy) and eleven (Lanier).
  • He tries to teach them good manners, and not spoil them.
  • Also, they are rolling in money about this time. They travel with tons of servants and trunks and Nicole manages it all beautifully – she learned to do it traveling as a kid.
  • They travel to visit Mary, who is now married to a rich "Count" by the name of Minghetti.
  • Apparently Mary’s step kids have been sick with a mysterious flu kind of thing and Nicole and Dick aren’t sure if they should play with Topsy and Lanier.
  • Dick drinks too much at dinner and gets a little out of hand with the Count. Nicole takes him to task for it later.
  • The next day Lanier tells them that the Minghetti maids had made him take a bath in the same water as the sick boy.
  • Then an "Asiatic" woman comes to their door and Dick asks if the kid is still sick. She tells him yes. So Dick complains about the bathwater thing, and implies she’ll be in trouble with Mary.
  • The woman is shocked and runs away crying.
  • The night, the Count gets called away and has to leave. The next morning, Mary approaches them angrily on the matter – asking why they insulted the Count’s sister.
  • The Divers are shocked. They thought she was a maid.
  • Mary says she explains that she and her sister were following a tradition. They had become "Himadoun" or "hand-maidens" to their brother’s wife. (For more on this read Shmoop’s "Quotes and Thoughts" under the theme "Foreignness and the 'Other.'")
  • The Divers apologize but it’s too late – the sisters and the Count have been disgraced and had to leave the premises.
  • Mary can’t believe the story anyway, and wants to question Lanier.
  • Nicole says, no way, but Dick allows it.
  • When Lanier comes in and explains, Dick decides to take Mary’s side instead, to put a stop to things.
  • Mary continues to rub it in that Dick didn’t pay attention when she explained who the women were beforehand and so Dick insults her.
  • The Divers leave on bad terms with Mary, but basically happy among themselves.