Study Guide

Tender is the Night Book One, Chapter Four

By F. Scott Fitzgerald

Book One, Chapter Four

  • Luckily, the McKisco set isn’t on the beach when Rosemary gets there. Dick Diver and Abe North come right over and invite her to hang out with them all day. She trusts Dick Diver, and he’s super courteous and thoughtful.
  • Nicole Diver is there with her pearls and a cookbook, trying to find a recipe for "chicken Maryland" (fried chicken with gravy). Rosemary thinks she looks 24 and has a complicated beauty.
  • Nicole sounds a little raw when she asks Rosemary how long she’s in town, and this makes Rosemary finally consider staying longer. She finds out that Nicole and Dick have a house near the hotel, at Tarmes.
  • The "Latin" looking man is reading a paper, and laughing at the names in the society pages, which he pronounces with a hint of French accent. He’s a little younger than Dick or Abe; tall, good looking, but has a look of permanent disdain.
  • Dick is raking the beach, talking about the society pages. Nicole remembers reading about a Mr. S. Flesh. Abe North is talking to the French guy, Barban (it’s not clear if Barban is the Latin guy with the French accent).
  • So Rosemary is alone with Nicole, who having written her recipe down, is sewing quietly, so Rosemary daydreams.
  • Her mom taught her that high fashion people, like the ones here, could be followers, but she thinks these guys are different. But – she only thinks of them in terms of herself, not in terms of each other.
  • So, she starts checking out the three guys (so if there are only three, then the Latin looking guy and the Frenchman, must be one man: Tommy Barban).
  • She thinks they are nice, special people that she’s known before, and will know eternally – different than the "actors and directors" and college boys that make up the men she’s known.
  • She briefly admires Abe North and Tommy Barban, but then starts completely drooling over Dick Diver and his slightly hairy arms and hands.
  • She thinks he’s got the world in his hands. He is a complete people magnet, and, like her, hard working and perseverant.
  • She decides she wants him. Nicole sees her decide, and hears Rosemary let out a little breath at the thought that he is Nicole’s.
  • Around mid afternoon, the McKisco, Abrams, Dumphrey, Campion group arrive nearby and Dick, Abe, and Mary North (didn’t know she was here…) who is the tan lady on the raft from the first day, make snide comments.
  • Nicole takes over and starts making really snide comments about outsiders invading the beach. Rosemary decides that it would be no fun to be hated by Nicole.
  • Nicole tells a story about seeing the McKiscos fighting, and that Violet threw sand in her man’s face, and then he sat on her and pushed her face down on the beach.
  • So Dick decides to invite them to dinner, against Nicole’s protests.
  • Then it’s swim time for all, and Rosemary thinks this will be the quintessential swim of her life. She feels like Dick is orchestrating this little world and factoring his orchestrations.
  • Then Nicole gives Dick what looks like see-through lace swim trunks, but it’s a gag – "they [are] lined with flesh-colored cloth."
  • McKisco says it’s "a pansy trick," but then apologizes to Dumphrey and Campion (who apparently are gay).
  • But Rosemary loves this fun.
  • She has no idea what the Divers have had to go through to get to be this free and easy. They are so suave that they aren’t like regular people. She has no idea that things are changing for them.
  • Dick tells her he hasn’t seen anybody who looked "like something blooming" in "a long time."
  • That night, she cries to her mother about being in love with Dick. Elsie wants to meet him, and then conveniently finds out that they’ve been invited to the Divers' party on Friday.
  • She then advises Rosemary to be happy if she’s in love. Rosemary likes this advice.

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