Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version
In Zurich, Franz's wife tells him that she is having a hard time with Nicole; she believes that Dick’s wife uses her mental illness to control people and events. She also believes that Nicole is unkind to her and her children. Franz defends Dick and tells his wife to quit complaining; however, when Dick returns looking terrible after his stay in Rome, she complains even more, stating that her husband works much harder than his partner. She also points out to Franz that Dick is drinking heavily and becoming a liability to the clinic. Franz listens and still disagrees with her on almost all points concerning Dick; but he cannot forget his wife’s warnings.
Upon his return from Rome, Dick lies to Nicole about what has happened, trusting that Baby will not tell her the truth. He says that he is bruised and scarred because he came to the aid of a drunken friend. As if to regain some sense of value and purpose in life, Dick begins to work hard at the clinic; he wants to make sure that Franz can find no reason to complain about him. In fact, Dick works so hard and is so quick and sharp that Franz finds it hard to keep up with his partner and complains about the fast, aggravating pace of the clinic. Franz begins to see Dick’s quick mind as a liability more than a benefit.
Dick continues to work with the woman painter and is devastated when she dies of her skin disease. He is so distraught that Franz suggests that Dick take a trip to Lausanne to meet with a potential patient, the son of a wealthy Chilean gentleman. The young man, who has serious problems, has become dissipated. Dick wants to know if there is money it in, and Franz assures him there is. When Dick meets the Chilean father, he learns that the son’s "problem" is his homosexuality. The father has tried everything to "cure" his son. Dick winces at tales of the bizarre cures and does not promise that he can offer any help. As he talks with the young man, a friend of the McKiscos appears and tells Dick that Nicole’s father, Mr. Warren, is dying in Lausanne. Dick is dumbfounded at the news.
Dick calls Mr. Warren’s physician and finds out that Nicole’s father, who is only in his fifties, has a failing liver due to advanced alcoholism. He also tells Dick that Mr. Warren wants to see Nicole before he dies. Dick goes to talk to Mr. Warren himself; although he finds him both weak and grateful, he is still motivated by selfishness; he wants to see Nicole in order to "die happy." Dick calls the clinic in order to consult with Franz on whether Nicole should risk seeing her father. Since Franz is busy, Dick leaves a detailed message for Franz with his wife. Unfortunately, he forgets to tell her not to tell Nicole anything about Mr. Warren. When she reveals the information to Nicole, Dick’s wife rushes to Lausanne to see her dying father.
Dick tries unsuccessfully to find and stop Nicole’s father; in the process he fails to meet Nicole's train. When the two of them finally meet at the hotel, they are both tense and tired; they go to have a drink at the bar. Very upset, Nicole has trouble understanding everything that has gone on. When she finally realizes that her father has left Lausanne, she and Dick return to Zurich.
Back at the clinic a week later, a young man's parents are taking their son away from the clinic. They are very upset because their son has smelled liquor on Dr. Diver's breath. Dick tries to tell the father that his son has real problems and that a doctor's personal habits should not be of concern to a patient; but Dick is shaken by the incident and decides to cut back on his alcohol consumption. When Franz returns to the clinic, Dick explains what has happened, trying to put himself in the best light possible. Franz is concerned, but diplomatic. He tells Dick that he has noticed the drinking and suggests that maybe Dick should take a leave of absence from the clinic.
Dick tells Franz that he wants to leave the clinic, even though he had no intention of coming to such a decision so quickly. Franz, however, is eager to undertake a buy-out, and they both agree it would really the best plan.
When the buy-out takes place, the Divers plan to leave Zurich. Dick is shocked at himself about the sale of the clinic; but he also feels relieved, knowing that his professional ethics have been dissolving for some time. Since they have rented out the Tarmes villa for the summer, Dick, Nicole, and the children opulently travel through France and Germany; they carry with them loads of baggage, pets, and hired help. The trip seems to do Nicole a lot of good. She thrives on making all the arrangements and is delighted to feel less lonely. During the trip, Dick takes a decided interest in his children, seizing the opportunity to get to know them better and to teach them manners and diligence.