Study Guide

Tender is the Night Book Two, Chapter Twenty-One

By F. Scott Fitzgerald

Book Two, Chapter Twenty-One

  • Rosemary is busy for dinner, and so Dick eats alone, refusing Collis’s company.
  • He thinks this business with Rosemary is silly, that Nicole is really the one for him, as hard as it is sometimes.
  • Soon he meets Baby, who is surprised to see him, thinking he’s in the U.S. She asks if Nicole is there.
  • They end up eating together and he fills her in on Nicole’s breakdown. She seems displeased and asks if he thinks Nicole got proper treatment from Dohmler in the first place.
  • Baby asks him if it would be better for Nicole to be away from the clinic and Dick reminds her that it was her idea. She argues that she meant something else, like moving to London, and chides Dick for leaving Nicole up there by herself.
  • He tells her he left because his father had died.
  • She talks about using the family money to cure Nicole.
  • Dick expresses doubts that he’s been good for Nicole, and Baby lets him know he can easily be replaced. Then she catches herself and thanks him for taking care of Nicole.
  • He exclaims that he loves Nicole, and she questions him.
  • Collis is near so he changes the subject, pressing her on why she’s still single. He says he wants to hear about her life, and stop talking about Nicole.
  • She obliges him and then he flatters her before taking her back to her hotel.
  • The next day, Dick has lunch with Rosemary. He knows that they are not in love in the deep way he and Nicole are. Hence, Rosemary has turned into a mysterious person to him.
  • He becomes agitated when they go back to her rooms. Nicotera is in there, and her phone keeps ringing. So Dick suggests his room and she agrees.
  • He starts asking her again about her sex life and finds out she had never had sex before she met him (it’s still not entirely clear if they’ve had sex before Rome) and that after they went their separate ways, she waited about a year.
  • She tells Dick no one compares to him.
  • He tells her he can guess about her affairs and makes up a story about how they had gone.
  • She says he’s wrong, and he’s glad. She says she wants to love someone forever.
  • Then Nicotera calls her at Dick’s place. Dick gets really irritated and tells her to go hang out with Nicotera. He’s crazy jealous and she explains that she will always put Dick first.
  • Nicotera wants to marry her, but she doesn’t want to.
  • She says she loves Dick and her mother the best in the world, and asks why Dick came. She says that she similar now to when she agues with her mom. She’s really upset.
  • Rosemary says she has to leave tomorrow and says she’ll stay in touch with him and will wait in her room. She asks him to explain why he’s come, and he says he’s realized that he doesn’t "bring people happiness anymore."