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The next day he meets Rosemary for lunch. After eating, they go to her room. Finding Nicotera there, they proceed to Dick’s room. He asks Rosemary all about her past love affairs, trying to seem jealous. He then quizzes her about Nicotera, seeming mad with jealousy. Although she claims to love Dick, not Nicotera, he knows that Rosemary no longer is infatuated with him; and he certainly knows that he can never love Rosemary. Dick then thinks about Nicole and acknowledges that he does not really love her either. He would go wild, however, if Nicole were to love another man. When Dick leaves Rosemary, he remarks that he does not seem to bring people happiness any more.
Down in the hotel bar, Dick tells Collis how he hates Italy and how he finds Italians to be rude and womanizing; in contrast, Collis likes the city and is having a good time. Dick then receives a message from Rosemary, stating she is waiting for him in her room. Dick pays the bellboy to tell her that he could not find Dick. He then leaves with Collis to visit a cabaret, where Dick proceeds to get drunk and have a fight with the orchestra leader. Dick is also so rude to Collis that the young man decides to leave. Dick then eyes and dances with a young British woman, probably a prostitute; but as he gets wilder and drunker even she disappears. When he finally leaves the bar, he fights with a cab driver over the taxi fare; another Italian intervenes and takes Dick to the police station. When the desk sergeant tells Dick he was wrong, Dick turns on the man who brought him in and slugs him. Several policemen fall on Dick, beat him, and throw him in a cell. He begs them to call Baby Warren at the Hotel Excelsior.
When Dick returns to the hotel, a doctor is called to attend his wounds. Dick finds the man to be a judgmental moralist who seems to strongly disapprove of him. He cannot understand why nobody will see things his way. The doctor sedates Dick, and he is left alone to fall asleep. Baby feels very smug and morally superior to her brother-in-law. She is delighted that she now has something concrete to hold over Dick’s head if it is ever needed.
The plot of book two moves back in time, to show Dick beginning his career in Zurich and marrying Nicole. It then leaps over the time period of book one and then moves forward to reveal the degeneration of Dick’s marriage. It is a key book, for it gives important Background Information on Dick and Nicole, explaining who they were and how they met. The emphasis of the book is clearly on Dick, the protagonist of the novel. Also, this section leans heavily on the psychiatric element of the story: Dick’s work and Nicole's illness. They are both complex and illusory and showcase Fitzgerald's critical view of the profession.
At the start of the book, Dick is hard working and considered brilliant; unfortunately, he cannot always control himself and is often unhappy. He makes decisions, changes his mind, and is generally a "golden boy" without much practical experience or self-awareness. When he cannot resist Nicole, despite the knowledge that he is making a terrible professional mistake, Dick shows he has weaknesses that he cannot overcome. After his marriage to Nicole, he feels increasingly sold out, unhappy, and angry; as a result, he begins to lose his sense of stability. With no active career other than writing, Dick seems unable to follow through on much or make good judgements. He also feels he must often defend himself. The little cracks in Dick’s personality that were revealed in book one widen in book two.
It is obvious that Dick does not really know what he wants. He tries to resist Rosemary’s advances and then quickly succumbs. He then feels confused, unsure of himself, and dissatisfied. At times, he seems almost as unstable as Nicole with her deep-rooted problems, and he tires of being both her husband and her psychiatrist. In his portrayal of Dick and his profession, Fitzgerald is clearly critical.