Summary, pp. 70-74
Some weeks elapse. The narrator, who has been fired from his job and is out looking for work, catches sight of a newspaper headline in the subway announcing that Rusty Trawler has married his fifth wife. The narrator immediately assumes that the bride is Holly, and is relieved when he discovers, on buying the paper, that in fact it is Mag who has become Rusty’s wife.
When the narrator arrives at the building where he lives, one of the tenants tells him to call the police because there is a commotion in Holly’s apartment. Glass is breaking and it sounds as if furniture is being overturned. The narrator bangs on the door and then tries to break it down. José arrives with a doctor and lets himself in with his own key. The narrator follows him. Holly is lying on the bed in a daze. The doctor gives her an injection and asks that he should be left alone with his patient. José then explains what happened. Holly received a telegram from Doc saying that her brother Fred had been killed in action, and she was overwhelmed with grief.
Holly reveals her intensely emotional nature in this scene. She felt close to her brother Fred because he was the only one in her natural family whom she could ever hug on winter nights. She even entertained notions of going to live with him in Mexico. Holly is not the kind of person who could control an emotion like grief, or channel it through acceptable forms, so she just lets rips and smashes furniture in one fit of anguish. The doctor treats her like a child, and in a sense, he has the right approach.
This incident also foreshadows the eventual parting of Holly and José, since José is nervous about scandal. He does not want a wife who is going to damage his diplomatic career and is only mollified by the narrator’s remark that “demolishing one’s own possessions was, presumably, a private affair.”