Marriage isn’t what Rachel thought it would be. She doesn’t mind life in South Africa, where there are fancy stores and delicious foods available. Nor does she mind being so far from her family (she’s not even sure if her parents and sisters are alive anymore). Rather, Rachel is saddened by her relationship with Eeben Axelroot, who—she suspects—cheats on her. Axelroot mocks Rachel for being a “poor little rich girl,” and he shows her little real affection.
Rachel’s problems with Axelroot are both petty and poignant. She’s finally married Axelroot, showing that she’s really dependent on him in every way. And although Rachel is a shallow, superficial person, we can sympathize with her conundrum, because it’s similar to Orleanna’s: she’s bound by marriage to a man she dislikes.
Rachel decides to get her revenge on Axelroot by seducing “the Ambassador,” a powerful young man named Daniel. Daniel is a French attaché, married to a woman named Robine.
It’s hard to gauge Rachel’s behavior here: is she right to cheat on her husband? Perhaps right and wrong are beside the point here in the mercenary world of Rachel and Axelroot: Rachel is just trying to survive by any means necessary.
One evening, Rachel gets a chance to talk to Daniel alone. She tells him about her experiences in the Congo, and senses that he’s attracted to her. She plans to become “Mrs. Daniel Dupree” very soon.
Rachel, for all her shallowness, knows how to use others and get what she wants. She’s grown up in a different way from her sisters, but has grown up nonetheless.