Act I | Act II | Act III
In Basic English
[THE sixth of March, 1886. In the garden of Major Petkoff's house. It is a clear spring morning ; and the garden is looking bright and beautiful. Over the railing the tops of two tall Turkish-looking buildings are to be seen, making it clear that the land is lower there, with that there is a little town. Some miles further are the Balkan mountains, shutting in the view. Looking in the direction of them from inside the garden, the side of the house is seen on the left, with a garden door and some steps going up to it. On the right are the out-houses and their great doorway, almost part of the garden. There are low fruit trees by the railing and house, covered with clothing from the wash put out to get dry. A footway goes by the house, getting higher by two steps at the end of the wall, then turning and going from view. In the middle, a small table, with two bent wood seats at it, is put ready for the morning meal, with Turkish coffee pot, cups, rolls, etc.; but the cups have been used and the bread broken. There is a garden seat made of wood against the wall on the right.
Louka, smoking a cigarette, is standing between the table and the house, turning her back angrily and with little respect on a man-servant who is having a serious talk with her. He is not a very old man, somewhat cold in feeling and behavior, with a brain which is quick and clear though untrained. He clearly puts a value on himself as a servant, and he had the quiet air of a man who sees things as they are and has not false ideas. He has on a white Bulgarian dress ; coat with ornamented edge, body band, wide trousers, and ornamented leather coverings on his legs. His hair is cut very short up to the top of his head, giving a long Japanese look to the upper part of his face. His name is Nicola.]
NICOLA : Take care while there is time, Louka : take more care with your behaviour. I have been with madam a long time. She has such an idea of herself that it never comes into her head that any servant would be without respectful for her; but if she ever has the feeling that you are going against her authority, out you go.
LOUKA : I do go against her authority. I will go against her authority. What is she to me ?
NICOLA : If you have trouble with the family, I'll never be able to get married to you. It's the same as if you had trouble with me !
LOUKA : You take her part against me, do you ?
NICOLA [unmoved] : I will be dependent on the support of the family all my days. When I go away from them and have a store in Sofia, the business they do with me will be half my income ; their bad word would be my downfall.
LOUKA : You are so dependent. If they say a word against me there'll be trouble !
NICOLA [unhappy to see her so foolish] : I was of the opinion that you had more sense, Louka. But you're young : you're young !
LOUKA : Yes; and you're better pleased with me because I am, aren't you ? But I have knowledge of some family secrets they'd give me something to keep quiet about, young as I am. Let them keep that in mind when they get angry with me !
NICOLA [smiling at her foolish talk] : Do you see what they would do if what you have been saying came to their ears ?
LOUKA : What would they do ?
NICOLA : Send you away for saying what is not true. Who would take any of your stories seriously after that ? Who would give you another place ? Who is there in this house who would be so unwise as ever to say anything to again ? How long would they let your father keep his little farm ? [She pits away the end of her cigarette angrily]. Little girl: you have no idea of the power these high ones have over persons like you and me when we make an attempt to become well-off and get up against them. [He goes near to her and says more quietly]. Have a look at me, ten years their servant. Have I no secrets ? I have knowledge of things about madam which she wouldn't let come to the ears of the Major for a thousand levas. I have knowledge of things about him which she would go on talking to him about for six months if I gave him away. I have knowledge of things about Raina which would put a stop to her getting married to Sergius if --
LOUKA [turning to him quickly] : Where did you get that from ? I haven't said anything to you !
NICOLA [opening his eyes and looking at her sharply] : So that's your little secret, is it ? I had an idea it might be something like that. Well, you take my suggestion and have more respect ; and give madam the feeling that whatever you have seen or haven't seen, she may be certain that you will say nothing and have the interests of the family at heart. That's the way to make them pleased ; and that's how you'll make most out of them.
LOUKA [very cuttingly] : You have the mind of a servant, Nicola.
NICOLA [quietly] : Yes ; that's the secret of getting on when you are a servant.
The sound of loud blows with the top of a whip on a wood door comes from the direction of the horse yard.]
MALE VOICE OUTSIDE. Hollo ! Hollo there ! Nicola !
LOUKA : The major ! Back from the war !
NICOLA [quickly] : My word for it, Louka, the war's at an end Go quickly and get some more coffee. [He goes running to the stable yard].
LOUKA : [while she puts the coffee pot and cups together on the tray, and takes it into the house] You'll never give me the mind of a servant.
Major Petkoff comes from the stable yard, with Nicola after him. He is a happy, unimportant, unpolished man of about 50, whose feelings are quickly worked up. Normally he is not much interested in anything but increasing his income, and keeping up his position in town-society, but at present he is greatly pleased with the military position which has been forced on him by the war as an important man in his town. The feeling for their country which the Serbian attack put into the hearts of Bulgarians has kept him going through the war ; but he is clearly pleased to be back again.
PETKOFF [pointing to the table with his whip] : Breakfast out here, eh ?
NICOLA : Yes, sir. Madam and Miss Raina have this minute gone in.
PETKOFF [Seating himself and taking a roll] : Go in and say I've come; and get me some new coffee.
NICOLA : It's coming, sir. [He goes to the house door. Louka, with coffee, a clean cup, and a cognac bottle on her tray, comes out while he is going in]. Have you said anything to Madam ?
LOUKA : Yes : she's coming.
Nicola goes into the house. Louka takes the coffee to the table.]
PETKOFF : Well : the Serbs haven't taken you off, have they ?
LOUKA : No, sir.
PETKOFF : That's right. Have you brought me some cognac ?
LOUKA [putting the bottle on the table] : Here, sir.
PETKOFF : That's right. [He pours some into his coffee].
Catherine, who, not being completely dressed at this early hour, has on a Bulgarian overskirt covering long, loose coat which was at one time very bright but is now old, and a colored cloth over her thick black hair, comes from the house with soft Turkish shoes on her feet, but no stockings, looking surprisingly beautiful and important even under these conditions. Louka goes into the house.]
CATHERINE : My dear Paul : what a surprise for us ! [She comes up to the back of his seat give him a kiss]. Have they given you some new coffee ?
PETKOFF. Yes : Louka's been looking after me. The war's at an end. The agreement was signed three days ago back at Bucharest ; and the order for our men to go back was given out yesterday.
CATHERINE [pulling herself up very straight, with bright eyes] Paul : have you let yourself be forced by the Austrians into making peace ?
PETKOFF [quietly] : My dear : they didn't were not interested in my opinion. What was I able to do ? [She takes a seat, turning away from him]. But naturally we saw to it that there was no loss of self-respect in signing the agreement. It makes peace --
CATHERINE [very angry] : Peace !
PETKOFF [comforting her] : -- but nothing is said about good relations : keep that in mind. They were going to put that in ; but I made a point of having it taken out. What more was I able to do ?
CATHERINE : You might have taken Serbia and made Prince Alexander Emperor of the Balkans. That's what I would have done.
PETKOFF : I haven't the least doubt of it, my dear. But I would have had to overcome the complete Austrian Empire first ; and that would have kept me so long away from you. I was very unhappy without you.
CATHERINE [giving way] : Ah ! [She put out her hand lovingly across the table to take his].
PETKOFF : And how have you been, my dear ?
CATHERINE : Oh, my same old bad throats : that's all.
PETKOFF [with decision] : That comes from washing your neck every day. I've often told you so.
CATHERINE : How foolish, Paul !
PETKOFF [taking his coffee and cigarette] : I'm against going so far with these modern ways. All this washing is certainly bad for one ; it's not natural. There was an Englishman at Philippopolis who made himself wet himself from head to foot with cold water every morning when he got up. Disgusting ! It all comes from the English : their weather makes them so dirty that they have to be washing all the time. Take my father for example ! Not once did he ever have a bath ; and he lived to be ninety-eight, the healthiest man in Bulgaria. I am not against a good wash once a week to keep up my position ; but once a day is taking the thing to foolish limits.
CATHERINE : You are still a simple countryman at heart, Paul. I am troubled by the thought that you may not have done the right thing before all those important Russians.
PETKOFF : I did my best. I took care to make it clear to them that we had a library.
CATHERINE : Ah; but you didn't say that we have an electric bell in it ? I have had one put up.
PETKOFF : What's an electric bell ?
CATHERINE : You put your finger on a button; something makes a little sound in the servant's room; and then Nicola comes up.
PETKOFF : Why not give a cry for him ?
CATHERINE : One doesn't do that in the best of society. I made that discovery while you were away.
PETKOFF : Well, I've made another discovery. In the best society one doesn't put out the washing where persons coming to the house are able to see it ; so you'd better have all that [pointing to the clothing on the trees] put in another place.
CATHERINE : Oh, that's foolish, Paul : I'm certain that persons of good birth don't give attention to such things.
SERGIUS [hammering with his whip on the great door at the right] : Door, Nicola !
PETKOFF : There's Sergius. [Crying out] Hollo, Nicola !
CATHERINE : Oh, don't make such a noise, Paul : it is not in good taste, truly.
PETKOFF : How foolish ! [In a louder voice than before] Nicola !
NICOLA [coming to the house door] : Yes, sir.
PETKOFF : I have you no ears ? That's Major Saranoff at the door. Let him in. [He says the name with the weight on the middle of the word : Sarahnoff].
NICOLA : Yes, sir. [He goes into the great doorway].
PETKOFF : Will you have a talk with him, my dear, till Raina takes him off our hands. I'm so tired to death of hearing him going on about not having been given a higher position -- over my head, naturally.
CATHERINE : It would certainly be right to give him a higher position when he gets married to Raina. In fact, it would be a good thing for the country to make a point of having at least one Bulgarian general.
PETKOFF : Yes; so that he would be able to send away a greater number of men to their destruction. It's no use, my dear ; he hasn't the least chance of becoming more than a major till we're quite certain that the peace will not be broken.
NICOLA [at the door] : Major Sergius Saranoff ! [He goes into the house and comes back a little later with a third seat, which he puts at the table. He then goes away].
Major Sergius Saranoff, whose picture is in Raina's room, is a tall, good-looking man, physically strong, ready for danger, with a mind quickly fired -- a true mountain chief. But he has about him the air of a man of thought and education. The line of hair over is eyes, curving with a questioning twist round the marked bones at the side ; quick eye which takes in every detail ; his nose, thin, sharp, and delicate, though it has a high bridge and the openings are wide ; his strong chin, which would not be out of place in a Parisian circle, making it clear that the quick, ready man of the mountains has great powers of judging and observation, and has been forced to make use of them by teaching of the West which has newly come to the Balkans. The outcome is strangely like the effect which was result is precisely what the advent of eighteen hundreds : in other words Byronism. By his keeping before his mind the fact that not only others, but he himself, will never come up to his highest ideals ; by the feeling of disgust which his knowledge gives him ; by his foolish belief that his ideas are right, and that men are wrong not to take them seriously ; by the look of pain and the bitter words forced upon him by the unpleasing facts which are uncovered by his delicate observation whenever he is with other men, he has come to have the half sad, half bitter air, the unreasoning bad-humour, the suggestion of a strange and shocking history amusing him nothing but unending regret which gave Childe Harold such an attraction for the English-women of fifty years earlier. It is clear that here or nowhere is man Raina's is looking for. Catherine has almost as great a feeling for him as her daughter, and she keeps her feelings much less under control. When he comes in she gets up, full of pleasure at seeing him again. Petkoff has clearly less desire to make much of him.
PETKOFF : Here so quickly, Sergius ! Pleased to see you.
CATHERINE : My dear Sergius ! [She puts out her hands to him].
SERGIUS [kissing them with an air of great respect] : My dear mother, if I may give you that name.
PETKOFF [dryly] : Mother-in-law, Sergius ; mother-in-law ! Take a seat, and have some coffee.
SERGIUS : Very good of you, but I'm not having any. [He gets away from the table with a certain disgust at Petkoff's pleasure in it, and takes up a position with a consciously self-important air against the rail of the steps leading to the house].
CATHERINE : What an air you have ! The war has done you good, Sergius. all of us here are off our heads about you. We've been talking of nothing but your great attack with the horsemen.
SERGIUS [serious and bitter] : Madam ; it was the birth and death of my military name.
CATHERINE : How is that ?
SERGIUS : I got the best of the fight the wrong way when our good Russian generals were getting the worst of it the right way. In fact, I made their plans go wrong, and gave a blow to their self-esteem. Two Cossack colonels acting on the theories of military science, had their men forced back by the Serbians. Two major-generals went to their destruction, guided by the directions of their army hand-books. The two colonels are now major-generals ; and I am still a simple major.
CATHERINE : You will not be one for long, Sergius. The women are on your side ; and they will see that you get your reward.
SERGIUS : That is no longer possible. I was only waiting for the peace to get out of the army.
PETKOFF [dropping his cup in his surprise] : Get out of the army !
CATHERINE. Oh, you will have to go back oh your decision !
SERGIUS [slowly and with measured weight, folding his arms] I never go back on my decision.
PETKOFF [angry] : Now whoever would have had an idea you were going to do such a thing ?
SERGIUS [with fire] : Everyone who had any knowledge of me. But enough of myself and my business. How is Raina ; and where is Raina ?
RAINA [suddenly coming round the side of the house to the top of the steps in the footway] : Raina is here.
Turning, they have a look at her, and she makes a sweet picture. She has on an under-dress of light green silk, covered with an overdress of thin natural-coloured canvas worked with gold. On her head she has a beautiful little Phrygian covering made of gold cloth. Sergius goes quickly to her. giving herself the air of a queen, she puts out her hand : he goes down on one knee with great respect and gives it a kiss..
PETKOFF [in a low voice to Catherine, with a father's happy look] : Beautiful, isn't it ? She has a way of coming at the right minute.
CATHERINE [bad-humouredly] : Yes ; she makes good use of her ears. It is a disgusting trick of hers.
Sergius takes Raina forward with great respect. When they get to the table, she turns to him in his direction, with a motion of her head : he goes down low before her ; and then he comes back to his place, and she goes to the back of her father's seat.]
RAINA [going down low and kissing her father] : Dear father" I am so pleased you are back !
PETKOFF [touching her face] : My dear little girl. [He gives her a kiss. She takes the seat put by Nicola for Sergius].
CATHERINE. And so you're no longer in the army, Sergius.
SERGIUS. I am no longer in the army. Fighting, my dear madam, is the low art of attacking violently when you are strong, and keeping out of danger when you are feeble. That is the secret of good fighting. Get your man when he is down ; and don't, whatever you do have a fight with him on equal conditions
PETKOFF. They wouldn't let us make a straight, equal fight of it. However, no doubt fighting has to be a trade like any other trade.
SERGIUS : Quite so. But I have no desire to be a good tradesman ; so I have taken the suggestion of that bagman of a captain who made the agreement about the exchange of prisoners with us at Peerot, and given it up.
PETKOFF : What ! that Swiss ? Sergius : I've frequently been troubled about that exchange. He got the better of us about those horses.
SERGIUS : Naturally he got the better of us. His father was a hotel keeper who kept horses as a side-line ; and he got his first step up because of his knowledge of horse-trading. [With false respect] Ah, he was a military man -- every inch a military man ! If only I had got horses for my men in place of foolishly taking them into danger, I should have been a field-marshal by now !
CATHERINE : A Swiss ? What was he doing in the Serbian army ?
PETKOFF : Not a regular, naturally ; interested in his trade. [Laughing] We wouldn't have been able to get started at all if these Swiss and Austrians and Russians hadn't given us an example : and the Serbs certainly hadn't. Why, there would have been no war without them !
RAINA : Are there a great number of Swiss officers in high positions in the Serbian Army ?
PETKOFF: No -- all Austrians, and our chiefs were all Russians. This was the only Swiss I came across. I'll never take the word of a Swiss again. We were tricked into giving him fifty strong men for two hundred old, tired horses. They weren't even any use for food !
SERGIUS : We were two babies in the hands of that great expert, Major : nothing but two simple little babies.
RAINA : What was he like ?
CATHERINE : Oh, Raina, what a foolish question !
SERGIUS : He was a bagman in military dress. A tradesman to his boots !
PETKOFF [smiling] : Sergius : Catherine would be interested in that strange story his friend had about how he got away after Slivnitza. You have it in mind ? About his being kept safe by two women.
SERGIUS [bitterly] : Oh yes : quite a love story ! He was fighting with the very guns against which I made my most unmilitary attack. Being a man of experience, he went off like the rest of them, with our horsemen after him. When he was in danger of being taken he got up a water-pipe and into the bedroom of a young Bulgarian girl The young woman was pleased by his smooth tongue of the bagman. She gave him a little quiet amusement for an hour or so, and then sent for her mother, fearing that her behaviour might seem a little forward. The old woman was equally pleased with him ; and the man was sent on his way in the morning, in an old coat of the girl's father's, --he being away at the war.
RAINA [getting up stiffly] : Your army experience has made you rough, Sergius. I am surprised that you give an account of such behaviour in my hearing. [turning away coldly].
CATHERINE [getting up] : She is right, Sergius. If there are such women, there is no need for them to be forced on our attention.
PETKOFF : Pooh ! how foolish ! What's the trouble ?
SERGIUS [shamed] No, Petkoff : I was wrong. [To Raina, with deep regret] Do not be angry with me. My behaviour has been disgusting. Please let it be overlooked, Raina. [She makes a motion with her head but not very warmly]. And you, madam. [Catherine does the same, more warmly, and takes a seat. He goes on seriously, again talking to Raina] What I have seen of the rougher side of existence in the last two or three months has taken away most of my beliefs ; but it was wrong of me to come here in that condition of mind -- specially before you, Raina. I -- [Here, turning to the others, he is clearly about to make a very long statement when the Major puts in a word].
PETKOFF : How foolish, Sergius ! That's quite enough noise about nothing ; what are we coming to if the daughter of a major isn't able to put up with a little strong talk without being disgusted ? [He gets up]. Come ; it's time for us to get to business. We have to make a decision about how those three divisions are to get back to Philippopolis ; there's no food for them on the Sofia road. [He goes in the direction of the house]. Come on. [Sergius is about to go after him when Catherine gets up and puts a word in].
CATHERINE : Oh, Paul, aren't you able to do without Sergius for a minute or two ? Raina has still seen so little of him. Possibly I might be able to give you some help with this question of the men.
SERGIUS : [protesting] : My dear madam, impossible : you --
CATHERINE [stopping him with a smile] : No need for you to go now, my dear Sergius : there's time for everything. I have a word or two to say to Paul. [With a quick motion of respect, Sergius goes back to his place]. Now, dear [taking Petkoff's arm] -- come and see the electric bell.
PETKOFF : Oh, very well, very well.
[They go into the house together lovingly. Sergius, who now has Raina to himself, takes a look fearing that she is still angry. She gives a smile, and puts out her arms to him.]
SERGIUS [going to her quickly] You are not angry with me any longer ?
RAINA [placing her hands on his arms while she gives him a look of great respect and love] : My Sergius ! My king !
SERGIUS : My queen ! [He gives her a kiss on the top of her head].
RAINA : I would give anything to do what you have done, Sergius ! You have been among men, fighting in the field, able to let everyone see that you are good enough for any woman on earth ; while I have been kept here with nothing to do -- building on air -- of no use -- doing nothing which would give me the right to say I am good enough for any man.
SERGIUS : Dearest ; all my acts have been yours. I was fired by my love for you. I have gone through the war like a man in an old story-book who goes out to fight with the woman of his heart looking down at him !
RAINA : And you have never been out of my thoughts for a minute. [Very seriously] Sergius : it seems to me that we two have made the discovery of the higher love. When you are in my thoughts I have the feeling that I would not be able to do a low act, or have a wrong desire.
SERGIUS : My love, my dear good Raina ! [He takes her in his arms with great respect].
RAINA : Ruler of my heart -- my . . .
SERGIUS : Sh -- sh ! Let me be the one to say such things, dear. You have no idea what little right even the best man has to a girl's clean love !
RAINA : I have complete belief in you. I am in love with you. You will not make me unhappy, Sergius. [Louka's song comes to them from the house. They quickly let one another go]. I am certain I will not be able to keep control of my feelings in front of her : my heart is too full. [Louka comes from the house with her tray. She goes to the table, and is starting to take things away, with her back turned to them]. I will get my hat ; and then we will go out till it is time for the meal. Isn't that a good idea ?
SERGIUS : Be quick. If you are away five minutes, it will seem five hours. [Raina goes quickly to the top of the steps, turning there for an exchange of looks with him and to send him a kiss with her two hands. He keeps his eyes on her for a minute, with a look of deep feeling ; then slowly makes a turn, an uplifted look on his face. From this position he is able to see a different part of the garden, and the tail of Louka's overskirt now comes into view. He quickly gives attention. He takes a secret look at her, starting to give the hair on his lip a twist, with his left hand on his side. At last, walking with something of the air of a miliary horseman, he goes slowly over to the other side of the table, opposite her, and says] Louka : have you any idea what the higher love is ?
LOUKA [surprised] : No, sir.
SERGIUS : Makes one tired to keep it up for long, Louka. One is in need of a little change after it.
LOUKA [seeming not to see what he has in mind] : Will you like some coffee, sir ? [She puts out her hand across the table for the coffee pot].
SERGIUS [taking her hand] : That's very kind of you, Louka.
LOUKA [pretending, but not seriously] : Oh, sir, that wasn't my idea at all. I'm surprised at you !
SERGIUS : [coming clear of the table and pulling her with him] I am surprised at myself, Louka. What would Sergius, the great fighter of Slivnitza, say if he saw me now ? What would Sergius, the servant of the higher love, say if he saw me now ? What would the six Sergiuses who keep running in and out of this beautiful body of mine, say if they saw us here ? [Letting her hand go and slipping his arm quickly round her] Am I a well-made man, Louka ?
LOUKA : Let me go, sir. I will get in trouble. [She makes a violent attempt to get free : he keeps a tight grip of her]. Oh, will you let go ?
SERGIUS : [looking straight into her eyes] No.
LOUKA : Then get back where we will not be seen. Have you no common sense ?
SERGIUS : Ah ! There's a reason in that. [He takes her into a doorway to the horse yard, where they are out of view of the house].
LOUKA [unhappily] : I may have been seen from the windows : Miss Raina is certain to be keeping her eye on you.
SERGIUS [wounded -- letting her go] : Take care, Louka. I may be false to the higher love ; but don't you say anything against it.
LOUKA [quietly] : Not for anything, sir, certainly. May I go on with my work, please, now ?
SERGIUS : [again putting his arm round her] There's a strange attraction about you, Louka. If you were in love with me, would you keep your eyes on me out of windows ?
LOUKA : Well, you see, sir, you say you are six different men at the same time, so I would have enough on my hands.
SERGIUS [very pleased] : Humour and good looks together. [He make an attempt to give her a kiss].
LOUKA [getting in his way] : No ; I have not desire for your kisses. Persons of good birth are all alike : you making love to me when she is away and she doing the same when you're away.
SERGIUS [taking a step back] : Louka !
LOUKA : It makes one see how little feeling you have.
SERGIUS [no longer talking to Louka as to an equal, becoming very cold] : If our talk is to go on, Louka, please keep in mind that a man of good birth does not have any discussion of the behaviour of the woman he is to be married to with her servant.
LOUKA : It's hard to be certain what views a man of your sort has about such things. When you made an attempt at kissing me I got the idea that you had given up being so delicate.
SERGIUS [turning from her and putting his hands to his head while he comes back into the garden from the doorway] : Satan ! Satan !
LOUKA : Ha ! ha ! I wouldn't be surprised if one of the six of your is very like me, sir; though I am only Miss Raina's servant. [She goes back to her work at the table, giving no more attention to him].
SERGIUS [talking to himself ] : Which of the six is the true man ? That's the question I'm troubled by. One of them is great, another foolish, another false, another perhaps a bit of a dirty dog. [He comes to a stop, and looking secretly at Louka while he says, very bitterly] And one, at least, is moved by fear -- hating anyone in completion with him, like all such persons. [He goes to the table]. Louka.
LOUKA : Yes ?
SERGIUS : Who is in love with Raina ?
LOUKA : You'll never get that out of me, for love or money.
SERGIUS : Why ?
LOUKA. Why is not important. Anyhow, you would say that I had given away the secret and I would be sent away.
SERGIUS [putting out his right hand] : No; on the word of a -- [He keeps himself from saying what was on his lips ; and dropping his hand to his side, he goes on with bitter humour] -- of a man to whom the behaviour of the last five minutes is possible. Who is he ?
LOUKA : I have no idea. I never saw him. The sound of his voice came through the door of her room.
SERGIUS : Louka ! Have you no shame ?
LOUKA [going back] : I've said nothing wrong ; you have no right to take up my words like that. Madam is in on the secret. And I am certain, that if the man ever comes here again, Miss Raina will get married to him, if he's after her or not. I see how different the sort if behaviour you and she put on before one another is from the behaviour of persons who are in love.
Sergius gives a sign of pain as if she had put a knife in him. Then, with a face like iron, he goes quickly up to her with a dark look, and gets a grip of her arm with his two hands.
SERGIUS : Now give attention to me.
LOUKA [with a sign of pain] : Not so tight : you're paining me.
SERGIUS : That's nothing. You have done damage to my good name by making me take part in the wrong you did. And you have been false to the woman whose servant you are.
LOUKA [twisting] : Please --
SERGIUS : That makes it clear that you are a disgusting, common little thing, with the mind of a servant. [He lets her go as if she were an unclean thing, turning away, dusting his hands of her, to the seat by the wall, which he takes, looking the other way, full of unhappy thoughts].
LOUKA [crying angrily, feeling her arms under her dress] You are able to give pain with your tongue as well as with your hands. But it doesn't have any effect on me, now I have seen that whatever sort of common earth I'm made of, you're made of the same. As for her, she says what's not true ; and her beautiful airs are simply put on ; and I'm as good as six of her. [Shaking off the pain, she puts her head up in the air, and goes to work to put the things on the tray.
He has a look at her, clearly in doubt. She put all the thing on the tray, folding the cloth over the edges, so as to take it all out together. While she is lifting it, he gets up.
SERGIUS : Louka ! [She comes to a stop, looking at him coldly] : A man of good birth has no right to give a woman pain under any conditions. [With deep regret, uncovering his head] Do not be angry with me. I was in the wrong.
LOUKA : That sort of talk may be all right for a woman of good birth. Of what use is it to a servant ?
SERGIUS [rewarded so poorly for his good behaviour, puts it off with a bitter laugh, and says cuttingly] : Oh, you were looking for payment for the damage ? [He puts on his hat, and takes some money from his pocket].
LOUKA [unable to keep from crying] : No ; I was hoping to have the pain made well.
SERGIUS [surprised at the note in her voice] : How ?
She gets the left arm of her dress rolled up : puts the thumb and fingers of her right hand round her arm, looking down at the black mark. Then she puts her head up, looking straight at him. At last, with a beautiful motion of her arm, she puts it out to the kissed. Surprised, he takes a look at her ; at the arm ; at her again ; does nothing for a minute : and then in deepest disgust, says Never ! and gets away as far as possible from her.
Her arm drops. Without a word, and with true self-respect, she takes her tray, and is going in the direction of the house when Raina comes back, in a hat and coat in the best Viennese taste of the year before, 1885. Louka makes way for her with a self-important air, and then goes into the house.]
RAINA : I'm ready. What is wrong ? [Happily] Have you been making love to Louka ?
SERGIUS [quickly] : No, no. How is it possible for you to have such an thought ?
RAINA [in shame] : Forgive me, dear : it was only a jest. I am so happy today.
He goes quickly to her, and moved by regret, gives her hand a kiss. Catherine comes out and says their names loudly from the top of the steps.
CATHERINE [coming down to them] : It's a shame to have to come to you dears ; but Paul is almost off his head working out what to do with those three divisions. He has no idea how to send them to Philippopolis ; and he'll have nothing to do with any suggestion of mine. You will have to go and give him help, Sergius. He is in the library.
RAINA [protesting] : But we are this minute going out for a walk.
SERGIUS : I will not be long. Give me five minutes, no more. [He goes quickly up the steps to the door].
RAINA [going after him to the foot of the steps and looking up at him with like a woman who is playing with her lover] : I will go round and be waiting in full view of the library windows. Be certain you make father see me. If you are any longer than five minutes, I will come in and take you off, divisions or no divisions.
SERGIUS [laughing] : Very well. [He goes in].
Raina keeps her eyes on him till he is out of view. Then, clearly becoming becoming herself again, she begins a walk up and down the garden deep in thought.
CATHERINE : The idea of their meeting that Swiss and hearing all the details of the story ! The very first thing your father made a request for was the old coat we sent him off in. The trouble you have got us into !
RAINA [her eyes fixed with attention on the footway while she is walking] : The little pig !
CATHERINE : Little pig ! What little pig ?
RAINA : To go and say anything ! Oh, if I had him here, I'd make him him so full of soft chocolate that he wouldn't ever be able to say another word !
CATHERINE : Don't say such foolish things. Don't keep anything back from me. How long was he in your room before you came to me ?
RAINA turning round quickly and walking in the opposite direction] : Oh, I'm not certain.
CATHERINE : It is impossible not to be certain ! Did he truly come up after the men had gone ; or was he there when that Russian had a look for him in the room ?
RAINA : No. Yes : I have an idea he was there then.
CATHERINE : You have an idea ! Oh, Raina ! Raina ! Will anything ever make you straightforward ? If this comes to Sergius's ears, everything is at an end between you.
RAINA [without respect] : Oh, I see well enough that you have a very soft place in your heart for Sergius. Sometimes I would almost be pleased if you were able to be married to him in my place. You're the very woman for him. You would make much of him, and give way to him, and take care of him like a mother.
CATHERINE [opening her eyes very widely] : Well ! What a thing to say !
RAINA [on an impulse -- half to herself] : When we are together I have an impulse to do or say something impossible to him -- to give him a good shock -- to put him completely at loss. [To Catherine, taking a pleasure in it] I'm not troubled by the thought of him hearing about the SWiss. I'm half hoping the story does get to him. [Turning again, she goes slowly, with an air of amusement, up the footway to the end of the house].
CATHERINE : And what, please, would I be able to say to your father ?
RAINA [looking back from the top of the two steps] : Oh, poor father ! As if he would be able to do something ! [She goes round the house out of view].
CATHERINE [looking after her, her fingers working] : Oh, if you were only ten years younger ! [Louka comes from the house with a card-tray in her hand, hanging down by her side]. Well ?
LOUKA : There's a man this minute come, madam -- a Serbian captain.
CATHERINE [flaming] : A Serb ! And how -- [stopping herself bitterly] Oh, it went out of my mind. We are at peace now. We will probably have them coming every day to give their respects. Well, if he is a captain, why don't you go to the Major ? He is in the library with Major Saranoff. Why do you come to me ?
LOUKA : But he makes a request to see you, madam. And I seems he's not certain who you are : he said Madam, the owner of the house. He gave me this little ticket for you. [She takes a card out of the front of her dress, and puts it on the tray ; offering it to Catherine].
CATHERINE [reading] : "Captain Bluntschli" ? That's a German name.
LOUKA : Swiss, madam, I would say.
CATHERINE [with a violent jump which makes Louka take a sudden step back] : Swiss ! What is he like ?
LOUKA [in fear] : He has a great canvas bag, madam.
CATHERINE : Oh, dear: he's come to give back the coat. Send him away -- say we're not in -- get him to say where he is living and I'll send him a letter -- Oh, stop : that will not do at all. One minute ! [She takes a seat suddenly to give thought to it. Louka is waiting]. Major Petkoff and Major Saranoff are working in the library, arenít they ?
LOUKA : Yes, madam.
CATHERINE [with decision] : Let the Swiss come out here this minute. [With authority] And be on your best behaviour with him. Be quick. Here [taking the card tray from her quickly] : put that down here ; and go straight back to him.
LOUKA : Yes, madam [going].
CATHERINE: . Louka !
LOUKA [stopping] : Yes, madam ?
CATHERINE : Is the library door shut ?
LOUKA. I have an idea it is, madam.
CATHERINE : Well, make certain that is when you go by.
LOUKA : Yes, madam [going].
CATHERINE : Stop ! [Louka, comes to a stop]. He will have to go that way [pointing to the gate of the horse yard]. Get Nicola to come here after him with his bag. Keep that in mind.
LOUKA [surprised] : His bag ?
CATHERINE : Yes : here : as quickly as possible. [Violently] Be quick ! [Louka goes running into the house. Catherine suddenly takes off her overskirt and puts it at the back of a low tree. She then takes up the card tray and makes use of it as a looking-glass, and the outcome of this is that the cloth round her head is sent after the overall. A touch to her hair and a shake to her coat, and she is ready to be seen]. Oh, how -- how -- how is is possible for a man be so foolish ! Such a time to come ! [Louka comes to the door of the house, saying "Captain Bluntschli." She goes to the side at the top of the steps to let him by before she goes in again. He is the man who came into Raina's room in the middle of the night, clean, well brushed, well dressed, and out of trouble, but still clearly unmistakably the same man. The minute Louka's back is turned, Catherine goes forward to him and quickly, importantly, sweetly, makes her request]. Captain Bluntschli ; I am very pleased to see you ; but you will have to go away from this house now, this minute. [He gives a look of surprise]. Major Petkoff has this moment come back, with my future son-in-law ; and they have no idea of anything. If they had, there would be trouble for all of us. You are of another country ; you do not have the same feeling of hate which we have as a nation. We are still hating the Serbs ; the effect of the peace on the Major is to make him angry and violent because he has not what he was fighting for. If he makes discovery of our secret, his feelings for me will never be the same ; and my daughter will not be safe. Will you, like the upright man you are, go away this minute before sees you here ?
BLUNTSCHLI [sadly, but ready to make the best of it] This minute, good madam. I only came to say how kind you have been, and to give back the coat. If you will let me to take it out of my bag and give it to your servant when I go out, there is no need to keep any longer. [He is turning to go into the house].
CATHERINE [gripping him by the arm of his coat] : Oh, don't go back that way whatever you do. [Taking him kindly across to the other doorway] This is the shortest way out. It was very good of our to come. So pleased to have been of use to you. Good-day.
BLUNTSCHLI : But my bag ?
CATHERINE. It will be sent on. You will say where you are living.
BLUNTSCHLI. True. Certainly. [He takes out a card, stopping to put something down on it, while Catherine clearly had the greatest desire for him to be gone. While he is handing her the card, Petkoff, without a hat, comes quickly from the house pleased to see the Swiss again, with Sergius after him.].
PETKOFF [running down the steps] : My dear Captain Bluntschli --
CATHERINE : Oh dear ! [She slowly takes the seat against the wall].
PETKOFF [too taken up to notice her that he does not see her while he is shaking Bluntschli's hand warmly] : My foolish servants had the idea I was out here, but I was in the -- haw ! -- library [He is unable to say 'library' without putting a note of pleasure into his voice]. I saw you through the window. I was surprised that you didn't come in. Saranoff is with me : your old friend, Major Saranoff.
SERGIUS [touching his hat with humor, and then offering his hand] : Pleased to see you, our friend of the other side !
PETKOFF : No longer that, happily. [In some fear] You have come as a friend, and not about horses or prisoners -- eh ?
CATHERINE : Oh, quite as a friend, Paul. I was only this minute requesting Captain Bluntschli to have a meal with us ; but he says he has to go straight away.
SERGIUS [with bitter humour] : Impossible, Bluntschli. We are in great need of you here. We have to send on three divisions of horsemen to Philippopolis ; and we have no idea how to do it.
BLUNTSCHLI [suddenly attentive and businesslike] : Philippopolis ? The food is the trouble.
PETKOFF [readily] : Yes ; that's it. [To Sergius] He sees it all in a minute.
BLUNTSCHLI : I'm almost certain I see how to do it.
SERGIUS. What a man ! [Much taller than Bluntschli, he puts his hand on his arm and takes him to the steps, Petkoff coming after them.
Raina comes from the house when Bluntschli has got his foot on the first step.
RAINA [with a short loss of mind] : Oh ! my chocolate man --
Bluntschli makes no sign. Sergius, surprised, has a look at Raina, then at Petkoff, who takes a look at him and then at Catherine.
CATHERINE [in complete control of the position] : My dear Raina, don't you see that someone has come to see us ? -- Captain Bluntschli ; one of our new Serbian friends.
Raina makes a motion of the head. Bluntschli does the same.
RAINA. How foolish of me ! [She comes down into the middle of the group, between Bluntschli and Petkoff ]. I made a beautiful ornament this morning for the ice sweet ; and that foolish Nicola has just put down a mass of plates on it and it is all broken. [To Bluntschli, with a smile] You didn't get the idea that I was talking to you that way, Captain Bluntschli, did you.
BLUNTSCHLI [laughing] : I certainly did. [Taking a secret look at her] I am comforted by what you say.
PETKOFF [in doubt, suspiciously, to Raina] : And how long, please, have you been a cook ?
CATHERINE : Oh, while your were away. Cooking is her latest amusement.
PETKOFF [bad-humouredly] : And has Nicola been drinking ? He had sense enough at one time. First he sends Captain Bluntschli out here when he saw quite well I was in the -- hum ! -- library ; and then he goes and gets Raina's chocolate ornament broken. He will have -- [Nicola comes into view at the top of the steps with the bag. He comes down and puts it before Bluntschli with respect, waiting for more orders. General surprise. Nicola, unconscious of the effect he is producing, seems quite pleased with himself. When Petkoff gets back his power of talking, he says loudly] Are you off your head, Nicola ?
NICOLA [surprised] : Sir ?
PETKOFF : What have you got that for ?
NICOLA : Madam's orders, Major. Louka said that --
CATHERINE [stopping him] : My orders ! Why ever would I give you an order to take Captain Bluntschli's bag out here ? What has got into your head, Nicola ?
NICOLA [after a minutes's complete surprise, taking up the bag while he says to Bluntschli with the ready sense of a true servant] : Very foolish of me, Captain. [To Catherine] My error, madam : I am hoping that it will be overlooked. [He goes down low before them, and is going to the steps with the bag, when Petkoff says to him angrily].
PETKOFF : You had better go and put that bag down on Miss Raina's ice sweet now. [This is more than Nicola is able to put up with. He lets the bag go, almost dropping it on Petkoff's toes and making him give a cry of]. Go, you butter-fingered goat !
NICOLA [taking up the bag quickly, and getting away into the house] : Yes, Major.
CATHERINE : Oh, it is not important, Paul : don't be angry.
PETKOFF [in a loud voice] : Dirty dog ! He's got out of hand while I was away. I'll make him give attention. The good-for-nothing ! He will go on Saturday. I'll send away all the servants -- [His breathing is almost stopped by the loving arms of Catherine and Raina round his neck].
PETKOFF [giving way] : Oh well, all right. Come, Bluntschli : let's have no more foolish talk about going away. It is quite clear that you are not going back to Switzerland for some time. Till you do go back you will be under our roof.
RAINA. Oh, yes, Captain Bluntschli.
PETKOFF : Now, Catherine : it is you he is waiting for. Let him see that it will be a pleasure to have him here ; and he'll not go.
CATHERINE : Naturally I will be more than pleased if [with a look of hope] our house is of any use to Captain Bluntschli. He sees certainly what would give me pleasure.
BLUNTSCHLI [in his driest military voice] : I am at madam's orders.
SERGIUS [warmly] : Then it is fixed !
PETKOFF [warmly] : Naturally !
RAINA : You see it is not possible for you to go.
BLUNTSCHLI [smiling] : Well, if it's not, it's not.
Catherine makes a sign that there is now not hope.
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