Tender is the Night Book 3, Chapter 7
The next morning, Nicole went to the beach with Dick. Ever since the night on the boat with Golding, Nicole had had some idea of what was going on. "So delicately balanced was she between an old foothold that had always guaranteed her security, and the imminence of a leap from which she might alight changed in the very chemistry of blood and muscle, that she did not dare bring the matter into the true forefront of consciousness." Book 3, Chapter 7, pg. 279 For months Nicole had sensed that things between she and Dick were changing. Dick had become increasingly indifferent, and he had been drinking too much. Nicole could not determine how Dick was going to behave from one day to the next. Nicole was ready for a change, and she felt that it would be a relief. Her money acted as a security blanket for her.
The Divers went to the beach together. Nicole saw Dick looking around for the children, not for their protection but for his. Nicole had come to resent Dick--his jokes, his politeness- things she once enjoyed about him. Nicole was sad about this fact, and started to recall some fond memories of Dick. Nicole became upset again when she saw Dick looking for Rosemary in the water. She told him to swim out to Rosemary without her. Nicole watched them talking as if they had never had a relationship with one another. Nicole swam out to them, noticing that Rosemary was more confident than she had been five years ago. Rosemary said she wanted to pretend that she was 18 again, when she was so happy to be around Dick and Nicole. Dick played with Nicole in the water and started to seem happy again. He asked Nicole if she wanted to go aquaplaning on Rosemary's friend's boat. Nicole remembered when Dick used to be able to stand on his hands on the end of a board, and she agreed to go.
One of Rosemary's young male friends climbed onto the board and managed to ride along with the boat and then do a back flip off the board. Rosemary went next, and all of the guys on the boat scrambled to help her back on. Dick went next and tried to show off for Rosemary by doing a trick, which especially annoyed Nicole, but he ended up failing in his attempt. Frustrated, Dick tried the trick two more times, but he could not do it. Nicole was very annoyed by Dick's foolishness. Back at the beach, Nicole, Dick and Rosemary had a drink together and Dick asked Rosemary if she had noticed his deterioration. Rosemary said that she thinks it isn't true.
They saw Mary North, who saw them as well but pretends not to notice them. When Mary saw Rosemary, however, she changed her mind and decided to come over to them. Mary was friendly to Nicole and Rosemary, and glanced unhappily at Dick. Mary and Nicole politely asked about each other's children, and when Mary left Dick makes clear his dislike for her.
Rosemary suddenly remembered what she had heard about Dick. Some woman had said that Baby Warren's sister had thrown herself away on some doctor. The woman had commented on Dick saying, "He's not received anywhere anymore." Book 3, Chapter 7, pg. 287 This phrase had upset Rosemary.
Nicole wanted to leave, realizing that Dick would say anything to impress Rosemary. Dick said that Mary wasn't really that bad, but it upset him that she did not like him. Rosemary asked the two if they had seen any of her films--and if so, what they thought of them. Dick went on about his opinions on acting with real emotion. Dick started babbling on and on about playing a character, and finally, Nicole could no longer stand it. Rosemary turned to Topsy and asked her if she had ever thought of becoming an actress. Nicole snapped and told her not to put ideas like that into her child's head. Nicole got up and left in a rage.
Nicole entered the bathhouse, and started to feel happy. She felt that she was capable of being alone--being without Dick. She could tell that the end of them was near. When Nicole got home, she wrote Tommy a letter.
That night Nicole started to fear what was on Dick's mind. She knew that she had to escape, and that she could no longer delude herself. "Either you think--or else others have to think for you and take power from you, pervert and discipline your natural tastes, civilize and sterilize you." Book 3, Chapter 7, pg. 290 At dinner that night, Dick drank too much and played some jazz, with he and Nicole arguing over what songs for him to play. The next morning, Dick left a note saying he was going to Provence for a few days. As she was reading the letter, Tommy called and told her that he received her letter and he was on his way over.