When Jake gets back to his flat, he learns from the concierge that Brett and the count had stopped by, and will return in an hour. They do, with the count bringing roses and Brett finding a jug to put them in.
The count immediately stands out because, with him, Brett takes on the classic feminine role of finding a vase to hold flower brought by a man. The count, therefore, seems like a traditional man.
Jake asks Brett about standing him up. She claims she didn't remember because she was drunk, which Jake doesn't believe. Jake makes Brett pour her own drink while he goes to dress. When Brett follows Jake into his room, he tells her he loves her. Brett asks if she should send the count away. Jake says no, but she does send the count out to get some champagne, which is one of his passions.
Characters constantly use alcohol as an excuse, as a way to either forget through drunkenness or as a plausible alibi when they are not drunk but still trying to avoid life. Note how, unlike the count, Jake does not take the traditional male role: he makes Brett make her own drink. Also note how, while every character drinks, the count actually likes alcohol. He drinks champagne not to try to forget anything, but because he enjoys it. He is different from the Lost Generation.
Alone now, Jake asks if they can't just live together, or go to the country. Brett responds that she can't live quietly in the country and doesn't understand why men like to live quietly. She adds that she would just make Jake miserable, and says she's going away to San Sebastian because it will be better for them both. She says she's leaving tomorrow.
There's a sense that the war has made men desire a quiet life. Brett instead shows the typical youthful male desires of noise and drinks. Every solution to their problems involves escaping to somewhere else.
The count returns with champagne, commenting that no one in the U.S. knows good wine anymore, but he has a friend in the business, a baron. This leads to a discussion about the usefulness having a title, and then to the count asserting that even if Brett didn't have a title, she'd still have more class than anyone. He is not joking, he says. Joking leads to enemies. Brett responds that the only person she never jokes with is Jake. Then she turns to drinking again. The count wishes he could hear her talk instead drink.
The count and Brett belong to a class of people with titles, but the count recognizes that Brett's "class" truly comes from some intangible charisma and beauty. The count's comment about joking seems genuine. He is being honest. The sadness of Jake being the only one Brett is honest with but also the one she can't be with is powerful. Brett once again turns to drinking as an escape, a fact that the count points out.
Brett suggests a toast, but the count dislikes mixing up emotion with good wine, as it affects the taste. Their conversation leads to the count telling a bit about his life: he's experienced seven wars and four revolutions, been shot by arrows on a business trip in Abyssinia. Living such a full life, he says, makes him able to enjoy everything, and gives him a knowledge of values. Brett questions what happens to his values when he's in love, which the count says is all the time. She says that he hasn't got values. The count genially disagrees.
While Jake tries to be stoic, meaning he endures what is difficult, the count is more of an epicurean, who seeks to enjoy life. The other characters all drink to drown their sadness. They drink in order to mix alcohol and emotion. The count drinks because he enjoys it. The count is also a veteran of WWI, but for him it wasn't a singular, formative experienced. It was just another war. Brett sees love as something that compels you to act in ways you otherwise wouldn't, as something that destroys your values. But the count doesn't see love as something controls you. He sees it as a pleasure, and therefore not as something that destroys values.
They enjoy a good meal, during which the count tells Jake and Brett that they should get married. The two of them respond with quick, evasive answers. When Brett wants another drink, the count insists on buying the most antique brandy.
Though Jake and Brett are good humored about the count telling them to marry, they still change the subject. The count doesn't just drink—he drinks only the best.
The three of them continue the night at a dancing club. The count tells Brett and Jake how nice they look dancing, saying he doesn't dance himself but enjoys watching them. While they dance, they discuss Brett's coming marriage to Mike, which Brett says will happen as soon as her divorce comes through. Jake offers her money for the wedding but she responds that Michael's people have money. Soon, Brett announces that she is miserable and wants to leave.
Brett's encouragement of Mike and Jake's rivalry and Jake's adoption of a fatherly, money-giving role are all tricks of denial of the real situation of loss, which eventually overwhelms them.
Jake takes Brett home, while the count prefers to stay a little longer at the club. When they reach Brett's place, she stops Jake from coming up. They kiss a number of times, but then she pushes him away. Jake takes the taxi home and goes to bed.
Once again, the count stays at the club because he actually enjoys going out. He's not doing it to hide from anything. Jake and Brett part in their same old fashion, kissing, then pushing away. It's a rut they can't seem to escape, because if only Jake weren't injured they have the sense that everything would be so good…