Act I | Act II | Act III
In Basic English
In the library after the middle day meal. It is a very poor library. It has one fixed shelf full of old paper-covered books of fiction, broken backed, coffee-marked, damaged and thumbed ; and two little hanging shelves with one or two books on them that have been given by friends : the rest of the wall space being being taken up by firearms and horns. But it is a living-room of great comfortable. From a line of three great windows there is a mountain view, now looking at its best in the soft light of the sun. In the angle near the right hand window a square heating-apparatus, a tall structure of bright, smooth brick, goes up almost to the roof, and clearly gives a good amount of heat. The Turkish seat is like that in Rina's room, and in the same position ; and the window seats are well covered with ornamental cushions. There is one thing, however, quite out of harmony with the rest. This is a small cook's table, much damaged by use, made into a writing-table with an old tin box full of pens, an egg-cup full of ink, and a dirty little bit of much-used red drying-paper.
At the side of this table, which is to the left of anyone facing the window, Bluntschli is working with two maps in front of him, writing orders. At the head of it is Sergius, who in theory is working with Bluntschli, but in fact is biting the feather of a pen and watching Bluntschli's quick, certain, businesslike operations, angry because he is not able to do as well as the Swiss -- a feeling, however,which is mixed with the surprise at a power which seems to him almost impossible, though its common quality will not let him have much respect for it. The Major is resting in comfort on the long seat, with a newspaper in his hand, and pipe quite near him. Catherine is seated by the fire-place, with her back to them, doing ornamented needlework. Raina, stretched on the seat under the window on the right, is looking out at the Balkans, her thoughts far away, with a book of fiction on her knees, which has not been looked at.
The door is on the same side as the fire-place, farther from the window. The button of the electric bell is between the door and the stove.
PETKOFF [looking up from his paper to see how they are getting on at the table] : Are you certain there's nothing for me to do, Bluntschli ?
BLUNTSCHLI [without stopping his writing or looking up] : Quite certain, Major. Saranoff and I will be able to do it.
SERGIUS [grimly] Yes : we will be able to do it. He makes the decisions; gets the orders ready; and I put my name on them. Division of work ! [Bluntschli gives him a paper]. Another one ? Good. [He puts the paper squarely in front of him ; placing his seat parallel to it with great care, and puts his name to it with his head resting on his bent arm and his tongue pointing in the direction of his moving pen]. This hand is more used to the blade than to the pen.
PETKOFF : It's very good of you, Bluntschli : truly, to let yourself be put upon in this way. Now are you quite certain I am able to do nothing ?
CATHERINE [talking to him sharply, but in a low voice] : You may let them get on with their work, Paul.
PETKOFF [giving a jump and looking round at her] : Eh ? Oh ! Quite right, my love : quite right. [He takes his newspaper up again, but presently lets it go out of his hands]. Ah, you haven't been at the war, Catherine : you have no idea what a pleasure it is for us to be seated here, after a good meal, with nothing to do but be happy. There is only one thing needed to make me comfort complete.
CATHERINE : What is that ?
PETKOFF : My old coat. I'm not happy in this one : it gives me a sort of full dress feeling.
CATHERINE : My dear Paul, how foolish you are about that old coat ! It is certain to be hanging in the blue cupboard where you put it.
PETKOFF : My dear Catherine, I have had a look there. Am I to have belief in my own eyes or not ? [Catherine gets up and goes across the room to put her finger on the button of the electric bell]. Why are you forcing that bell on our attention? [Looking at him with her best society air, she quietly takes a seat again and goes on with her needlework]. My dear, if you are of the opinion that the fixed ideas of your sex are able to make a coat out of two old bedroom-dresses of Raina's, your raincoat, and my raincoat, you're wrong. That's what is in the blue cupboard at present.
Nicola comes in.
CATHERINE : Nicola, go to the blue cupboard and and get the Major's old coat ; the one edged with silk which he puts on for the house.
NICOLA : Yes, madame. [Nicola goes out].
PETKOFF : Catherine.
CATHERINE : Yes, Paul ?
PETKOFF : I put any jewel which it is your pleasure to have ordered from Sophia against a week's housekeeping money that the coat is not there.
CATHERINE. Very good, Paul !
PETKOFF [very pleased at the idea of playing for money] : Come : here's a chance for some sport. Who'll put some money on it ? Bluntschli : I'll give you six to one.
BLUNTSCHLI [unmoved] : It would be taking your money, Major, without giving you a chance. Madame Petkoff is certain to be right. [Without looking up, he gives Sergius some more papers].
SERGIUS [as pleased as Petkoff] : Well done, Switzerland ! Major : I'll put my best war-horse against an Arab horse for Raina that Nicola comes across the coat in the blue cupboard.
PETKOFF [taking the suggestion] Your best war--
CATHERINE [stopping him quickly] : Don't be foolish, Paul. You will have to give 50,000 levas for an Arabian horse.
RAINA [suddenly coming down from the clouds] : Well, mother, if you are going to take the jewel, I don't see why you aren't ready to let me have my Arab.
Nicola comes back with the coat, and takes it to Petkoff, who is not certain if he is seeing right
CATHERINE : Where was it, Nicola ?
NICOLA : Hanging in the blue cupboard, madame.
PETKOFF : Well, I am --
CATHERINE [stopping him] : Paul !
PETKOFF : I am quite certain it wasn't there. My years are starting to have effect on me. My eye's are playing tricks. [To Nicola] Here : give me your help while I get changed. If I may, Bluntschli. [He takes off one coat and is starting to put on the other, Nicola helping him]. Don't make any error, now ; I don't take that offer of yours, Sergius. You'd better give Raina that Arab horse yourself, having put it into her head. Eh, Raina ? [He has a look round at her; but her attention is again on the view. Suddenly feeling very pleased with his daughter and full of love for her, he makes a motion to the others, and says] Her thoughts are in the clouds, as ever.
SERGIUS : Certainly the loss will not be hers.
PETKOFF :. So much the better for her. I will not be let off so cheaply, I expect. [The change is now complete. Nicola goes out with the discarded coat]. Ah, now I feel at home at last. [He sits down and takes his newspaper with a grunt of relief ].
BLUNTSCHLI [to Sergius, handing a paper] : That's the last order.
PETKOFF [jumping up] : What ! Done ?
BLUNTSCHLI : Done.
PETKOFF [like a boy who is sad because he is not playing with the others] : Haven't you anything for me to put my name on ?
BLUNTSCHLI : Not necessary. His name will do.
PETKOFF : [pushing out his chest and giving it a blow] : Ah well, in my opinion we've done a thundering good day's work. [He goes away from the table]. Is there anything more for me to do ?
BLUNTSCHLI : You and Saranoff had better both see the men that are to take these. [To Sergius] Send them off without loss of time ; and make it clear to them that I have put on the orders the time they are to be given in by. Say that if any stops are made for drinking or exchanging stories -- if they're five minutes late, they'll have the skin taken off their backs.
SERGIUS [angrily putting himself upright] : I'll say so. [He goes to the door.] And if one of them is man enough to make a face at me for talking to him like that, I'll give him the money to get out of the army and keep himself for the rest of his days. [He goes out].
BLUNTSCHLI [secretly] : See that he gives them their orders in the right way, Major, will you ?
PETKOFF [pleased to be given something to do] : Quite right, Bluntschli, quite right. I'll see to it. [He goes to the door importantly, stopping for a minute before he goes out]. By the way, Catherine, you might come with me. They'll have much more fear of you than of me.
CATHERINE [putting down her needlework] : Probably I had better. You will only make noises at them. [She goes out, Petkoff keeping the door open for her and going after her].
BLUNTSCHLI : What a country ! They make cannons out of cherry trees ; and the send for their women to keep order ! [He is now folding and marking the papers].
Raina, who has got up from the window-seat, goes slowly down the room with her hands behind her back, and give him a look of amusement.]
RAINA : You are ever so much better-looking than when we last met. [He gives a look up, surprised]. What have you done to yourself ?
BLUNTSCHLI : Had a wash, a brush, a good night's sleep, and a meal. That's all.
RAINA : Did you get back safely that morning ?
BLUNTSCHLI : Yes, quite.
RAINA : Were they angry with you for running away from Sergius's attack ?
BLUNTSCHLI [smiling] : No : they were pleased ; because they had all been doing the same themselves.
RAINA [going to the table and getting quite near to him] : It certainly made a beautiful story for them : all that about me and my room.
BLUNTSCHLI : Very good story. But there was only one man to whom I said anything about it -- a special friend.
RAINA : Who you were quite certain would keep the secret ? On whose discretion you could absolutely rely ?
BLUNTSCHLI : Quite.
RAINA : Hm ! My father and Sergius got every detail of it from him the day you made the exchange of prisoners. [turning, away, she goes slowly across to the to the other side of the room, seemingly quite carefree].
BLUNTSCHLI [deeply troubled, and still uncertain if it is true] : No ; you are not serious about it, are you ?
RAINA [turning, suddenly serious] : I am truly. But they have no idea it was into this house you came to get out of danger. If Sergius had knowledge of that, he would have a fight with you and put you to death.
BLUNTSCHLI : Dear me ! Then don't say anything to him.
RAINA : Please be serious, Captain Bluntschli. Don't you see what it is to me to keep anything from him ? It is my one desire to be nothing wrong and do nothing wrong in Sergius's eyes -- nothing low, or small, or false. My relation to him is the one truly beautiful and good part of my being. Isn't that clear to you.
BLUNTSCHLI [doubting] : In other words, you would not be pleased for him to make the discovery that the story about the ice sweet was a--a--a-- Well, that's enough.
RAINA [with a sign of pain] : Ah, do be serious about it. I said something which was not true : there is no doubt about that. But I did it for you. He would have put you to death. That is the second time I have ever made a false statement. [Bluntschli gets up quickly, looking at her with doubt and not very much approval]. Have you still a memory of the first time ?
BLUNTSCHLI : I ! No ; was I present ?
RAINA : Yes ; and I told the Russian who was searching for you that you were not there.
BLUNTSCHLI : True. It was wrong of me to let that go out of my mind.
RAINA [with more hope] : Ah, it is natural that you should it went out of your mind first. You had to do nothing. But I had to say something which was false !
She takes a seat, looking straight in front of her with her hands gripped together round her knee. Bluntschli, quite touched, goes up to her with a specially comforting and kind air, and takes a seat by her side.
BLUNTSCHLI : My dear young woman, don't let yourself be troubled by that. You see, I am a military man. Now what are the two experiences a military man has so frequently that after a time they become nothing to him ? One is hearing false statements [Raina makes a move away from him] : the other is being kept from death in all sorts of ways by all sorts of persons.
RAINA [getting up in angry protest] : And so he becomes a being without belief in anyone and with no sense of debt.
BLUNTSCHLI [with a look of disgust] : Is a sense of debt pleasing to you ? It isn't to me. If feeling for someone in trouble is near to love, a sense of debt is near the other thing.
RAINA : A sense of debt ! [Turning angrily] : If you are without a sense of debt you are without any good feeling. Even animals have it. Oh, I see now what sort of opinion you have of me ! You were not surprised that I made a false statement. To you it was something I probably did every day ! every hour !!. That is the idea men have of women. [She goes up and down the room, acting a part].
BLUNTSCHLI [a note of doubt in his voice] : There's reason in everything. You said you had made only two false statements ever. Dear young woman, isn't that putting it a little low ? I'm quite a straightforward man myself ; but it wouldn't last me for one morning.
RAINA [looking at him stiffly] : Are you conscious of the fact, sir, that you are wounding my feelings deeply ?
BLUNTSCHLI : What am I to do ? When you give yourself those airs and say things in that moving voice, I have a great respect for you ; but I am quite unable to give belief to one word you say.
RAINA [beautifully] : Captain Bluntschli !
BLUNTSCHLI [unmoved] Yes ?
RAINA [coming quite near to him, as if doubting her senses] : Are you serious about what you said then ? Are you conscious what you said then ?
BLUNTSCHLI. I am.
RAINA [with a quick breath] : I ! I ! ! ! [Pointing to herself without belief,and saying in effect ; "I, Raina Petkoff, say what is not true !" He keeps his eyes on her, not moving a muscle. She suddenly takes a seat by his side, and says, with a complete change from acting to simple good manner] How did you see through me ?
BLUNTSCHLI [quickly] : Natural sense, dear girl. Natural sense, and experience of men and women.
RAINA [in a surprised voice] : Well, you are the first man I have ever come across who did not take me seriously !
BLUNTSCHLI : Wouldn't it be truer to say, that I am the first man that has ever taken you quite seriously ?
RAINA : Yes, that probably is what I have in mind. [Happily, feeling quite herself with him] How strange it is to be talked to in such a way ! You see, that's what I'm like all the time
BLUNTSCHLI : What, putting on those --
RAINA : Putting on those airs and that moving voice. [They have a laugh together] I was like that when I was very young with the servant who had the care of me. She took it seriously. I am the same with my father and mother. They take it seriously. I am it before Sergous. He takes it seriously.
BLUNTSCHLI : Yes : he's a little like that himself, isn't he ?
RAINA [shocked] : Oh ! Is he ?
BLUNTSCHLI : You have a better knowledge of him than I have.
RAINA : I am not certain -- I am not certain if he is. If I saw him in that light -- [brushing the thought on one side] Ah, well ! it is not important. No doubt, now you have seen through me, you have a very poor opinion of me.
BLUNTSCHLI [warmly, getting up] : No, my dear girl, no, no, no a thousand times. It's part of being young -- part of your attraction. I'm like all the rest of them -- the servant who took care of you -- your mother and father -- Sergius. I'm completely at your feet.
RAINA [pleased] : Truly ?
BLUNTSCHLI. [putting his hand on his chest. in the German way] : Hand aufs Herz ! Truly.
RAINA [very happy] But what was your opinion of me for giving you my picture ?
BLUNTSCHLI [surprised] Your picture ! You never gave me your picture.
RAINA [quickly] : What, you never got it ?
BLUNTSCHLI : No. [He takes a seat by her side, with new interest, and says, quite pleased with himself] When did you send it to me ?
RAINA [angrily] : I did not send it to you. [Turning her head away, she says, unable to keep it back] It was in the pocket of that coat.
BLUNTSCHLI [screwing up his lips and opening his eyes wide] : Oh-o-oh ! I didn't see it. It is no doubt there still.
RAINA [jumping up] : There still ! -- for my father to come across the first time he puts his hand in his pocket ! Oh, why were you so foolish ?
BLUNTSCHLI [getting up] : But is is not very serious, if it's only a picture ; how will he have any idea who it was for ? Say he put it there himself.
RAINA [bitterly] : Yes : that's such a good idea -- isn't it ? [Almost off her head] Oh ! what am I do ?
BLUNTSCHLI : Ah, I see. There is some writing on it. That was foolish.
RAINA [so angry that she is almost to tears] : Oh, to have done such a thing for you, who have no interest -- but to make sport of me -- oh ! Are you certain it has not been touched by anyone ?
BLUNTSCHLI : Well, It's impossible to be quite certain. You see, I didn't take it about with me all the time : one is not able to have much with one when one is with the forces.
RAINA : What did you do with it ?
BLUNTSCHLI : When I got through to Peerot I had to put it in safe place somehow. I would have put it in the parcel-room at the railway station, but that is where things are most certain to be taken in present day war. So I took it to a place where they let you have money on things.
RAINA : You what ! ! !
BLUNTSCHLI : It's not a very pleasing idea ; but it was much the safest thing to do. I got it back the day before yesterday. I haven't the least idea if the man took the things out of the pockets or not.
RAINA [very angry -- hoping he will be wounded by her words] : You have a low storekeeper's mind. You get ideas which would never come into the head of a man of good birth.
BLUNTSCHLI [unmoved] : The Swiss are like that as a nation, dear madam.
RAINA : Oh, if only I had never seen you. [She goes away suddenly, and takes a seat at the window, very angry].
Louka comes in with a number of letters and telegrams on her card tray, and goes across, with her free walk, to the table. The left arm of her dress is turned up and fixed with a pin-ornament, letting her unclothed arm be seen, with a wide band of gold covering the black mark.
LOUKA [to Bluntschli] : For you. [slipping the letters without care from the tray on to the table]. The man is waiting. [She is not going to have any respect for a man in Serbian dress, even if she has to take him his letters].
BLUNTSCHLI [to Raina] : May I ? The last post I had was three weeks back. That's why I've got all these now. Four telegrams -- a week old. [He takes one out of its cover]. Ooh ! Bad news !
RAINA [getting up and coming forward with a little feeling of regret for her bad behaviour] : Bad news ?
BLUNTSCHLI : My father's dead. [He is looking at the telegram with his lips screwed up, giving to the sudden change in his designs. Louka quickly makes the Sign of Christ].
RAINA : Oh, how very sad !
BLUNTSCHLI. Yes : I shall have to start for Switzerland in an hour. He had a number of great hotels which will have to be looked after. [He takes up a fat letter in a long blue cover]. Here's a long letter from our man of law. [He takes out the papers and has a quick look over them]. Great Lord ! Seventy ! Two hundred ! [With increassing shocked surprise] Four hundred ! Four thousand ! ! Nine thousand six hundred ! ! ! What on earth am I to do with them all ?
RAINA [uncertainly] : Nine thousand hotels ?
BLUNTSCHLI : Hotels ! How foolish ! If I had any idea ! Ooh, it's more than foolish ! May I go ? I have to give my man orders about starting. [He goes out of the room quickly, with the papers in his hand].
LOUKA [feeling certain she will be able to make Raina angry by saying something against Bluntschli : He has not much heart, that Swiss. He has not a word of regret for his poor father.
RAINA [bitterly] : Regret ! A man who has done nothing but put men to death for years ! What is it to him ? What is it to any military man ? [She goes to the door, almost unable to keep from crying].
LOUKA : Major Saranoff has been fighting ; and he still has enough feelings. [Raina, at the door, give her a cold look and goes out]. Aha ! I had an idea you would not get much feeling out of your Swiss. [She is going after Raina when Nicola comes in with his arms full of wood for the fire].
NICOLA [smiling lovingly at her] : I've been doing my best all this last part of the day to get a minute by myself with you, my girl. [A change comes over his face when he sees her arm]. Why, what way is that of pinning your dress, little one ?
LOUKA [crushingly] : My way.
NICOLA : Is that so? If madam sees you, she'll have something to say to you. [He puts the wood down, seating himself comfortably on the Turkish seat].
LOUKA : Is that any reason for you to take it on yourself to say anything to me ?
NICOLA : Come ! don't be so unkind to me. I've some good news for you. [she takes a seat by his side. He gets some paper money out of his pocket. Louka, her eyes round with desire, makes an attempt to take it ; but he put it quickly into his left hand, out of her way.]. See ! a twenty leva note ! Sergius gave me that simply to let me see how important he is. A foolish man and his money are quickly parted. There's ten levas more. The Swiss gave me that for supporting the madam's and Raina's false stories about him. He is a wise one, he is. If only you had been in hearing distance when old Catherine was down talking to me, being as kind as possible, saying that I was not to be troubled about the Major being a little angry ; because they saw what a good servant I was -- after making me seem foolish and my statements false before them all ! The twenty will go to the money we have put on one side ; and you may have the ten to get something with if you'll only say a word to me to put me in mind of the fact that I am a man. I get tired of being a servant at times.
LOUKA [making it clear that she has a very poor opinion of him] : Yes : give yourself for 30 levas, and give me for 10 ! Keep your money. You were a servant from birth. I was not. When you get your store you will only be everybody's servant. [She goes slowly to the table, seating herself importantly in Sergius's place
NICOLA : [taking up his wood and going to the fire] Ah, you will see. We will have our nights to ourselves; and I will give the orders in my house, take my word for it. [He puts the wood down and goes on his knees by the fire].
LOUKA : You will never be the head of my house.
NICOLA [turning, still on his knees, and resting back somewhat sadly on his feet, troubled by her low opinion of him which nothing will overcome] : You have a great desire to get on, Louka. Keep this in mind : if any good chance comes to you, it was I that made a woman of you.
LOUKA. You !
NICOLA [getting up and going over to her] : Yes, me. Who was it made you give up putting on two pounds of false black hair on your head and making your lips and face red like any other Bulgarian girl ? I did. Who made you keep your nails cut and your hands clean and be delicate in your ways, like a Russian woman of good birth ? Me : are you giving attention ? Me ! [She puts her head up as if to say "And what of it ?" and he, turning away, goes on, more coldly] I have frequently had the idea that if Raina was out of the way, and you were a little less foolish and Sergius a little more, you might come to be one of the most important persons doing business at my store, in place of only being married to me and using up my money.
LOUKA : I've an ideas you would be happier to be my servant than to have me married to you. You would make more out of me. Oh, I see into that mind of yours.
NICOLA [going nearer to her to give greater weight to his words] Don't be so interested in my mind ; but give attention to what I have to say. If it is our desire to seem to be a woman of good birth, your present behavior to me will not do at all, or at least only when we are by ourselves. It's unnecessarily sharp and there is not enough respect in it : and that being free of me, is a sign of love for me. But, on the other hand, don't you put on airs with me. You're like all country girls : you have an idea you will be like your betters if you are as rough with a servant as I am with a horse boy. That's only because you have no experience ; and you keep that in mind. And don't be so ready to go against everybody's authority. Let is be seen from our behaviour that you are used to having your own way, not that you are used to be ordered about. The way to get on as a woman of education is the same as the way to get on as a servant : you've got to be able to keep your place : that's the secret of it. And you may be certain that I will keep my place all right if you are given a higher one. Give thought to it, my girl. I'll be our friend : it is right for one servant to be ready to give another a helping hand.
LOUKA [getting up, tired of Nicola's talk] : Oh, let my behaviour be. You take all the heart out of me with your cold reasoning. Go and put those bits of wood on the fire : that's the sort of thing you are good at.
[Before Nicola is able to say, Sergius comes in. He come to a stop for a minute when he sees Louka ; then goes to the fire-place.]
SERGIUS [to Nicola] : I am not in the way of your work, am I ?
NICOLA [talking smoothly like an old man] : Oh no, sir : it is very kind of you. I was only talking to this foolish girl about the way she has got into of running up here to the library whenever she gets a chance, to have a look at the books. That's the worst of her education, sir : it gives her tastes higher than her position. [To Louka] Put the table in order, Louka, for the Major. [He goes out slowly].
[Louka, without looking at Sergius, seems to be putting the papers in order on the table. He goes slowly across to her, looking with attention at the way she has put up the arm of her dress.]
SERGIUS : Let me see ; is there a mark there ? [He puts up the gold band and sees the black mark made by his fingers. She keeps quite quiet, not looking at him : feeling his attraction, but taking care]. Ffff ! Is it paining you ?
LOUKA : Yes.
SERGIUS : Would you be pleased if I made it well ?
LOUKA [quickly going back a step, says stiffly but still not looking at him ] : No. You are unable to make it well now.
SERGIUS [with authority] : Quite certain? [He makes a move as if to take her in his arms].
LOUKA : Don't make sport of me, please. It is wrong for a Major to make sport of a servant.
SERGIUS [touching the arm roughly with his first finger] That was not sport, Louka.
LOUKA [pulling her arm back in pain ; then looking at him for the first time] Are you regretting it ?
SERGIUS [with measured weight on his words, folding his arms] I never have regrets.
LOUKA [sadly] If only I was certain that it was possible for a man to be so unlike a woman as that. Are you truly a man without fear ?
SERGIUS [naturally, acting no more] : Yes ; I am a man without fear. My heart gave a jump like a woman's at the first gun went off ; but in the attack I made the discovery that I had no fear. Yes : that at least is real about me.
LOUKA : Did you make the discovery in the attack that the men whose fathers are poor like mine had more fear than the men who are well-off like you ?
SERGIUS [with bitter humour] : Not a bit. They were all waving their blades about, and crying out at the tops of their voices, and using bad language like the best of us. Psha ! The power to do violent acts and put men to death is cheap. I have an English dog -- a regular fighter -- who has as much fire in him as all the men in Bulgarian, with Russia at their backs. But he lets my horse boy give him a whipping, all the same. That's your military man all over ! No, Louka : your poor men are good at cutting throats but they have fear of those who are in authority over them ; they put up with rough words and blows ; they let one another be given punishment like small boys while they are looking on -- yes, and even give a helping hand when they are ordered. And those in authority !!! Well [with a short hard laugh]I am one. Oh, [warmly]give me the man who will put up a fight to the death against any power on earth or in the sky which goes against his desires and his sense of right and wrong ; he only is the man without fear.
LOUKA : How simple it is to say such things ! Men never seem to me to get any older ; they all have schoolboy's ideas. You have no idea what it is to be truly without fear.
SERGIUS [cuttingly] Is that so ! I am ready to be made wiser. [He takes a position on the Turkish seat, stretching himself beautifully]
LOUKA : How about me ! How much chance do I have of pleasing myself ? I have to get your room ready for you -- make it clean and get it dusted, take things here and there. How would it be possible for me to be shamed by that if you were not shamed by having it done for you ? But [with controlled fire] if I were Empress of Russia, higher than anyone on earth, then -- ah then, though in your view I have no heart for anything, you would see, you would see.
SERGIUS : What would you do, most high Empress ?
LOUKA : I would get married to the man I was in love with, a thing no other queen in Europe would do. If I was in love with you, though you would be as far under me as I am under you, I would be ready to be the equal of you who were lower than myself. Would you do as much if you were in love with me ? No ; if the seeds of love were in you, you would not let them get greater. Fear would keep you back ; you would get married to the daughter of a man who had a great amount of money for fear of what others would say of you.
SERGIUS [jumping up] : That is not true : it is not so, by all the stars ! If I was in love with you, and I was the Czar himself, I would make you the Czarina. You are conscious that I am in love with another woman, a woman as high over you as the sky is over the earth. And you are against her because of it.
LOUKA : I have no reason to be. She will never be married to you now. The man I was talking to you about has come back. She will get married to the Swiss.
SERGIUS [jumping back] : The Swiss !
LOUKA : A man as good as ten of you. Then you may come to me ; and I will not have you. You are not good enough for me. [She makes a turn in the direction of the door].
SERGIUS [jumping after her and taking her violently in his arms] : I will put to death the Swiss ; and after that, I will do to you what ever I have a mind to.
LOUKA [in his arms, unprotesting and unmoved] : The Swiss will put you to death, possibly. He has got the better of you in love. He may get the better of you in war.
SERGIUS [unhappy] : Is it possible that I would give belief to the story that she --she ! whose worst thoughts are higher than your best ones, would make love to another man when I am not here ?
LOUKA : Is it possible that she would give belief to the Swiss if he said to her now that I am in your arms ?
SERGIUS [letting her go, completely at a loss] : Powers of Satin ! Made sport of everywhere : every thought I have is laughed at by everything I do. [He gives himself a violent blow on the chest]. Full of fear, false, foolish ! Am I to put an end to myself like a man, or go on living and seem not to take myself seriously ? [She again makes a turn to go]. Louka ! [She comes to a stop near the door]. Keep this in mind : you are mine.
LOUKA [turning] : What are you saying -- are you shaming me ?
SERGIUS [with authority] : I am saying that you are in love with me and that I have had you here in my arms, and will possibly have you there again. That may or may not be shaming you : I am not interested : take it as you please. But [violently] I will not give way to fear or make you cheap. If I am in love with you, I am ready to make you my equal, even if all Bulgaria is against it. If you are ever touched by these hands again, it will be as the future Madam Saranoff.
LOUKA : We will see if you are strong enough to keep your word. But take care. I will not be kept waiting long.
SERGIUS [again folding his arms and keeping his position in the middle of the room] : Yes, we shall see. And you will be kept waiting as long as it is my pleasure.
Bluntschli, much taken up with his thoughts, his papers still in his hand, comes in, keeping the door open for Louka to go out. He goes across to the table, looking at her quickly when she goes past. Sergius, without turning from his fixed purpose, keeps his eyes on him. Louka goes out, without shutting the door.]
BLUNTSCHLI [in a far-away voice, taking a seat at the table as before and putting down his papers] : That's a very uncommon-looking young woman.
SERGIUS [seriously, without moving] : Captain Bluntschli.
BLUNTSCHLI : Eh ?
SERGIUS. You have been false to me. We are in love with the same woman. I do not put up with competition in love. At six I will be in the army-field near the Klissoura road, myself, on horseback, with my blade. Is that clear to you ?
BLUNTSCHLI [looking at him fixedly, but quite untroubled] Oh, it is very good of you you : that's a horseman's suggestion. I'm a gunner ; and I have the selection of arms. If I go, I will take a machine gun. And there will be no error about the firing material this time.
SERGIUS [getting red, but very coldly] : Take care, sir. It is not our way in Bulgaria to let offers of that sort be made sport of.
BLUNTSCHLI [warmly] : Pooh ! don't say anything to me about Bulgaria. You have no idea what fighting is. But have it your way. Bring your blade with you. I'll see you there.
SERGIUS [greatly pleased to see that the man he is up against has some fire in him] : Well said, Switzer. Will you take my best horse ?
BLUNTSCHLI : No : you may keep your horse ! -- very kind of you, all the same, my dear man. [Raina comes in, hearing the end of what Blutschli is saying]. This fight will be on foot. There is greater danger on horseback : I have no desire to be responsible for your death if there is any way out.
RAINA [coming forward quickly in fear] : What is Captain Bluntschli talking about, Sergius. You are going to have a fight. Why ? [Sergius turning away without saying a word, goes to the fire, watching her as she goes on, to Bluntschli] : What for ?
BLUNTSCHLI : I have no idea ; he hasn't said. Better not get in the way, dear madam. No damage will be done : I am quite an expert at this sort of thing. He will not be able to come near me; and I will not do him any damage. It will make any clearing up of the position unnecessary. In the morning I will be off to Switzerland ; and you'll never see me or have news of me again. You and he will then become friends again and go on living happily ever after.
RAINA [turning away deeply pained, almost crying] : I never said I had any desire to see you again.
SERGIUS [coming forward quickly] Ha ! She gives away the secret herself.
RAINA [stiffly] : What is on your mind ?
SERGIUS : You are in love with that man !
RAINA [shocked] : Sergius !
SERGIUS : You let him make love to you when I am not there, and you let me take the part of lover when he is not there. Bluntschli : you saw what our relations were ; and you have been false to me. That is what I am protesting against, not the fact that you have been rewarded in a way I never was.
BLUNTSCHLI [jumping up angrily] : How foolish ! I have had no rewards. Why, the young woman hasn't even any idea if I am married or not. --
RAINA [unconscious of what she is saying] : Oh ! [Falling on the long seat] Are you ?
SERGIUS : You see how troubled the young woman is, Captain Bluntschli. It is no use saying any more. You were happy enough to see her in her own room, late at night--
BLUNTSCHLI [stopping him angrily] : Yes, you fathead ! She let me in with a gun at her head. Your horsemen were after me. My gun would have made short work of her if she had given a cry.
SERGIUS [much surprised] : Bluntschli ! Raina, is this true ?
RAINA [getting up angrily, in a very stiff voice] : Oh, how have you the face to say such things ?
BLUNTSCHLI : Take it back, man ; take it back. [He goes to his seat at the table, again].
SERGIUS [with the old measured weight on his words, folding his arms] : I never take anything back !
RAINA [with strong feeling] : This is the doing of that friend of yours, Captain Bluntschli. It is through him that this shocking story about me has got round to every one. [She goes walking about very worked up].
BLUNTSCHLI : No : he's dead -- burned to death.
RAINA [stopping, shocked] : Burned to death !
BLUNTSCHLI : Wounded in the leg in a woodstore. Unable to get out. The wood took fire from your men's guns and he was burned, with six other poor men in the same position.
RAINA : How shocking !
SERGIUS : And how foolish ! Oh, war ! war ! So much desired by lovers of their country and great men ! False, Bluntschli. A hollow fiction like love.
RAINA [shocked] : Like love ! You say that before me !
BLUNTSCHLI : Come, Saranoff : that question has been put right.
SERGIUS : A hollow fiction, I say. Would you have come back here if everything which took place between you had been at the end of your gun ? Raina is wrong about your friend who was burned. It was not he who gave me the facts.
RAINA : Who then ? [Suddenly seeing the answer] Ah, Louka ! my girl ! my servant ! You were with her this morning all that time after -- after -- Oh, what sort of Being is this I have been going down on my knees to ! [He gives back her look, with bitter pleasure at her discovery of the cruel facts. All the more angry, she goes nearer to him, and says, in a quieter voice shaking with feeling] You see, I put my head out of the window while I was going up the steps, to have another look at my great Sergius ; and I saw something which I did not make out at the time. I see now that you were making love to her.
SERGIUS [with bitter humour] : You saw that ?
RAINA : Well enough. [Turning away, and falling on seat under the middle window, quite overcome].
SERGIUS [bitterly] : Raina, our love story is completely broken. There is nothing serious now.
BLUNTSCHLI [to Raina, with amusement] : You see : he's has seen through himself now.
SERGIUS [Going to him] : Bluntschi, I have let you to call me a fathead. You may now say I am a man of fear. I am not going to have this fight with you. Is it clear to you why ?
BLUNTSCHLI : No; but what of it ? I put no questions when you said there was to be a fight, and I am not questioning the reason now you say there is not to be one. War is my trade : I take part in a fight when I have to, and am very pleased to get out of it when I haven't. War is not your trade ; to you fighting is an amusement.
SERGIUS [seating himself at the table, nose to nose with him} : You will have reason all the same, my military expert. The reason is that it takes two men -- men of heart, blood and upright behaviour -- to make a true fight. I would no more be able to have a fight with you than I would make love to a woman who was not beautiful. There is no attraction about you ; you're not a man, you're a machine.
BLUNTSCHLI [with a note of regret] : Quite true, quite true. That's the sort of man I've been from the start. It's sad. But now you've seen that existence isn't a play, but something quite serious and with some sense in it, what more is there to keep you from being happy ?
RAINA [getting up] : You have a great desire to see me happy. But what about his new love -- Louka ? It is not you he will be fighting now, but Louka's other sweetheart, Nicola.
SERGIUS : Nicola ! ! [jumping half across the room].
RAINA : Is it news to you that they are going to get married ?
SERGIUS : Nicola ! Are there more shocks in store? Nicola ! !
RAINA [bitterly] : Shocking to give up so much to such a man, isn't it ? Such good looks, such a brain ! such quiet behavior ! Wasted on a servant who is no longer young. Truly, Sergius, it is not right for you to keep quiet and let such a thing take place. A man so high-minded as you are would not let it.
SERGIUS [with complete loss of his self-control] : Snake ! Snake ! [He goes up and down the room, very angry].
BLUNTSCHLI : Look here, Saranoff : you're getting the worst of this.
RAINA [getting angrier ] : Do you see what he has done, Captain Bluntschli ? She has put this girl to keep a secret watch on us; and her reward is that he makes love to her.
SERGIUS : False ! A shocking suggestion!
RAINA : Shocking ! [going up to him ] Will you give your word that it was not she who said that Captain Bluntschli was in my room ?
SERGIUS : No ; but --
RAINA [stopping him ] : Will you give your word that you were not making love to her when she made the statement ?
SERGIUS : No ; but I say --
RAINA [cutting him short, with an angry shake of the head] : It is unnecessary to say anything more to us. This is quite enough for us. [Turning away from him, she goes sailing back to the window.]
BLUNTSCHLI [quietly, as Sergius, in deepest shame, slowly takes up his position on the long seat, turned away from them, gripping his head between his shut hands ] : I said you were getting the worst of it, Saranoff.
SERGIUS : Cat !
RAINA [running to Bluntschli, very worked up ] : You see, Captain Bluntschli ? This man is using bad names to me.
BLUNTSCHLI : What is more natural, dear madam ? He has to do something to keep his self-respect. Come [very kindly ], don't be angry with one another. What good does it do ?
Raina, with a quick breath, takes a seat, and after a poor attempt to give Bluntschli an angry look, is overcome by her sense of humor, resting back, for once quite natural, against the shaking body of Sergius.
SERGIUS : Going to get married to Nicola ! Ha ! ha ! Ah well, Bluntschli, you are right to take this completely false existence quietly.
RAINA [in a strange little voice to Bluntschli, sensing what is in his state of mind] : We probably seem to you like two great babies, don't we ?
SERGIUS [smiling angrily] : We do, we do. Swiss education taking care of Bulgarian backwoodsman, eh ?
BLUNTSCHLI [getting red] : Not at all, not at all. I'm only very pleased to get you two quiet. There, there : let's be less angry with one another and have a talk about it like friends. Where is this other young woman ?
RAINA : With her ear at the door, probably.
SERGIUS [shaking as if suddenly wounded, and talking quietly but very angrily] :I will let you see that that, at least, is false. [He goes with an air of authority to the door and gets it open. An angry cry comes from him on looking out. He goes quickly outside, and comes back pulling in Louka, whom he sends violently against the table, saying] Be her judge, Bluntschli. You, the cold, unfeeling man : what is to be done with a woman who puts her ear to keyholes ?
Louka, quite unmoved, says nothing, and gives no sign of fear.
BLUNTSCHLI [shaking his head] : That is not for me to say. Once I did the same to my men in the field when they were about to go against my authority. It's all a question of what one does it for. I was in danger.
LOUKA : My love was in danger. I have no feeling of shame.
RAINA [crushingly] : Your love. Your interest in what others were doing would be nearer it.
LOUKA [facing her, and even more crushingly] : My love, stronger than any feeling you are able to feel, even for your chocolate captain.
SERGIUS [with quick doubt, to Louka] : What's that you are saying ?
LOUKA [angrily] : I --
SERGIUS [stopping her without any respect for her feelings] : Oh, it comes back to my mind : the ice sweet. A cheap thing to say, girl !
Major Petkoff comes in, without his coat.
PETKOFF : May I come in without my coat, sirs ? Raina : somebody has been using that coat of mine : I am certain of it. Somebody with a different sort of back. It's all unstitched down the arm. I had to take it to your mother. If only she'd be quick about it ! I will get a cold. [Looking at them with attention]. Is anything wrong ?
RAINA : No. [She takes a seat near the fire, with a quiet air].
SERGIUS : Oh no. [He takes a seat at the end of the table, as at first].
BLUNTSCHLI [seated] : Nothing. Nothing.
PETKOFF [taking a seat in his old place] : That's all right. [He sees Louka]. Anything wrong, Louka ?
LOUKA : No, sir.
PETKOFF [kindly] : That's all right. [He gives a sneeze]. Go and see if madam has done my coat, like a good girl, will you ?
Nicola comes in with the coat. To make it seem as if she has business in the room, Louka takes the little table with the pipe away to the wall near the windows.
RAINA [getting up quickly when she sees the coat on Nicola's arm] : Here it is, father. Give it to me, Nicola; and put some more wood on the fire. [She takes the coat to the Major, who gets up to put it on. Nicola sees to the fire].
PETKOFF [to Raina, making loving sport of her] : Aha ! Going to be very good to poor old father for one short day after he has come back from the wars, eh ?
RAINA [in serious protest] : Ah, how are you able to say that to me, father ?
PETKOFF : Well, well, only in play, little one. Come : give me a kiss. [She gives him a kiss]. Now give me the coat.
RAINA. No : I am going to put it on for you. The other way round. [He gives a turn so that he has his back to her, feeling for the arms. She quickly takes the picture from the pocket and puts it down on the table before Bluntschli, who puts a bit of paper over it under the very nose of Sergius, who is looking on in great surprise, his doubts becoming very clear. She then gives Petkoff help in putting on his coat]. There, dear ! Now are you happy ?
PETKOFF : Quite, little love. It is very good of you. [He takes a seat ; and Raina goes back to hers near the fire]. Oh, by the way, I have come across something strange. What's the idea of this ? [He puts his hand into the pocket from which the picture was taken]. Eh ? Hallo ! [He puts his hand into the other other pocket}. Well, I would have said for certain --! [Much surprised, he puts his hand into the chest pocket]. I -- [going back to the first pocket] where has it-- ? [He suddenly has an idea. He gets up, saying] Mother has taken it !
RAINA [very red] : Taken what ?
PETKOFF : Your photograph, which has on it the words : "Raina, to her Chocolate Sweetheart : in memory." Now clearly there's something more in this than comes to the eye ; and I'm going to see what it is. [Crying out] Nicola !
NICOLA [coming to him] : Sir !
PETKOFF : Did you do damage to any of Miss Raina's cake this morning ?
NICOLA : You were there when Miss Raina said I did, sir.
PETKOFF : Yes, but that's no answer, you goat. Was it true ?
NICOLA : I am certain Miss Raina wouldn't say anything which is not true, sir.
PETKOFF : Are you ? Then I'm not. [Turning to the others] Come -- its as clear as daylight to me. [He goes to Sergius, and gives him a good-humoured blow on the back]. Sergius : you're the chocolate sweetheart, arenít you ?
SERGIUS [jumping up] : I ! A chocolate sweetheart ! Certainly not.
PETKOFF : Not ! [He has a look at them. They are all very serious and very conscious]. Are you seriously saying that Raina sends things like that to other men ?
SERGIUS [darkly] : The earth is not such a good place as it seemed to us at one time, Petkoff.
BLUNTSCHLI [getting up] : It's all right, Major. I'm the chocolate sweetheart. [Petkoff and Sergius are equally surprised]. The kind young woman kept me from death by giving me chocolates when I had been without food : the taste of them will be with me forever ! You had the story from my poor friend Stolz -- the story at Peerot. I was the runaway.
PETKOFF : You ! [He takes his breath quickly]. Sergius : does it come back to your mind how angry those two women were this morning when we were talking about it ? [Sergius gives a bitter smile. Petkoff comes fast to face with Raina angrily]. You're a strange sort of young woman, arenít you ?
RAINA [bitterly] Major Saranoff's feelings for me are changed. And when I put that on the picture, I had no idea that Captain Bluntschli was married.
BLUNTSCHLI [surprised into violent protest] : I'm not married.
RAINA [deeply pained] : You said you were.
BLUNTSCHLI I did not. I certainly did not. I have never been married.
PETKOFF [very angry] : Raina, will you kindly make it clear, if I have a right to put such a question, to which of these men you are going to be married ?
RAINA : I'm not going to be married at all. This young lady [turning to Louka, who is facing them with her head in the air] is the one whom Major Saranoff's is in love with at present.
PETKOFF : Louka ! Are you off your head, Sergius ? Why, this girl is going to be married to Nicola.
NICOLA : Do not be angry with me, sir. There is an error. Louka is not going to be married to me.
PETKOFF : Not going to be married to you, you dog ! Why, you had twenty-five levas from me on the day your made the decision ; and she had that gold bank from Miss Raina.
NICOLA [in a cold smooth voice] : We said so, sir. But it was only to keep Louka safe. She had a mind higher than her position ; and I have been no more than a servant and friend to her. I am going, as I have said, sir, to set up a store later on in Sofia; and I am looking forward to her doing business with me if she gets married to someone of high birth. [He very wisely goes out, with them all looking after him].
PETKOFF [the first to say something] : Well, I am -- hm !
SERGIUS : This is a behaviour of the very highest or the very lowest order. Which is it, Bluntschli ?
BLUNTSCHLI : It's all the same, whichever it is, Nicola is the ablest man I've come across in Bulgaria. I'll make him manager of a hotel if he can has knowledge of French and German.
LOUKA [suddenly bursting out at Sergius] : Everyone here has been unkind to me. You gave them the example. Now, take back what you have said.
Sergius, like a clock with an automatic bell of which the spring has been touched, is folding his arms again.
BLUNTSCHLI [before he is able to say anything] : It's no use -- he never takes anything back.
LOUKA : Not with you, his equal and a man who is not his friend. With his poor servant, he will.
SERGIUS [with approval] : You are right. [With bent knee and his most important air] Do not be angry with me.
LOUKA : I am not angry with you. [She gives him her hand uncertainly, he takes it and gives it a kiss]. That touch makes me the the future Madam Saranoff.
SERGIUS [jumping up] : Ah, that had gone out of my mind !.
LOUKA [coldly] : You may take it back, if it is your pleasure to do so.
SERGIUS : Take it back ! No ! You are mine. [He puts his arm about her].
Catherine comes in and see Louka in Sergius's arms, with all the rest looking at them in great surprise.
CATHERINE : What is the idea of this ?
Sergius lets Louka go.
PETKOFF : Well, my dear, it appears that Sergius is going to be married to Louka in place of Raina. [She is about to be angry with him : he puts a stop to it by saying bad-humouredly] Don't make me responsible : I've nothing to do with it. [He goes to the fire].
CATHERINE : Married to Louka ! Sergius : you have given us your word.
SERGIUS [folding his arms] : I am quite free.
BLUNTSCHLI [much pleased by this bit of common sense] : Saranoff, your hand. My warm approval. These high airs of yours have their common sense side after all. [To Louka] Dear girl, the best wishes of your future from a good Republican ! [He give her hand a kiss, to Raina's great disgust and goes back to his seat].
CATHERINE : Louka : you have been saying things when our backs are turned.
LOUKA : I have done Raina no harm.
CATHERINE [stiffly] : Raina !
Raina, equally angry, is on the point of saying something.
LOUKA : I have a right to call her Raina : she says Louka. I said to Major Saranoff that she would never get married to him if the Swiss came back.
BLUNTSCHLI [getting up much surprised] : What's that !
LOUKA [turning to Raina] : I was certain you had a greater love for him than for Sergius. You are in the best position to say if I was right.
BLUNTSCHLI : How foolish ! I give you my word, my dear Major, my dear Madame, the kind young woman simply kept me from death, nothing more. She has never had the smallest feeling for me. Why, only take a look at the young woman and then at me. She, well-off, young, beautiful, with her mind full of lovers out of story-books. And I, a common Swiss, an army man who has almost no idea what good living is after fifteen years of wars and a hand to mouth existence : a man with no fixed living-place, who hasn't made use of any of his chances because he is naturally in love with danger -- a man --
SERGIUS [jumping as if a needle had gone into him and stopping Bluntschli in the greatest surprise] : What's that, Bluntschli ? Why did you say you hadn't made use of your chances ?
BLUNTSCHLI [quickly] : Because I am naturally in love with danger. I went away from my family when I was a boy. I went into the army and not into my father's business. I got up the wall to a window of this house when a man of sense would have gone straight into the nearest dark hole. I came back here secretly to have another look at the young woman when any other man of my years would have sent the coat back --
PETKOFF : My coat !
BLUNTSCHLI : -- yes : that's the coat I talking about -- would have sent it back and gone quietly out of the country. Do I seem to you the sort of man a young woman would be in love with ? Why, how old are we, for example ? I'm thirty-four : probably the young woman is not much over seventeen. [This estimate has a marked effect, all the rest turning and looked fixedly at one another. He goes on, quite unconscious of them.] All that business which was a fight with death for men was only a schoolgirl's play to her -- soft chocolates and amusement. Here's the sign of it ! [He takes the picture from the table]. Now, I put the question to you. Would a woman who took the thing seriously have sent me this and put on it, : "Raina, to her Chocolate Sweetheart : in memory" ? [He lets them see the picture, very pleased with himself, as if it gave the only possible answer to the question.].
PETKOFF : That's what I was looking for. How on earth did it get there ?
BLUNTSCHLI [to Raina, pleased with himself] : It is my hope that I have everything right, dear young woman.
RAINA [going to the table and facing him] : I am quite in agreement with your account of yourself. You are a foolish man in love with danger. [Bluntschli is very surprised]. Another time you may see that a schoolgirl of seventeen is different from a woman of twenty-three.
BLUNTSCHLI [very surprised] : Twenty-three !
She take the picture quickly from his hand with a look of disgust, pulling it in bits, which she sends in his face; then she goes back with an air to her place.
SERGIUS [taking a cruel pleasure in Bluntschli's position] : Bluntschli, my one last belief is gone -- your experience is false ; like all the other things. You have less sense than even I have.
BLUNTSCHLI [overcome] : Twenty-three ! Twenty-three ! ! [He gives thought]. Hm ! [Quickly coming to a decision and going over to Petkoff] If that is so, Major Petkoff, you will let me make a request for your daughter's hand in place of Major Saranoff.
RAINA : You have the face !
BLUNTSCHLI : If you were twenty-three when you said those things to me to-day, I will take them seriously.
CATHERINE [with stiff but good behavior] : I am in doubt, sir, if you have quite a true idea of my daughter's position or that of Major Saranoff, whose place you say you are going to take. The Petkoffs and the Saranoffs are noted for being the best-off and most important families in the country. We have almost a place in history : we are able to go back for twenty years.
PETKOFF : Oh, don't go into that, Catherine. [To Bluntschli] We would be most happy, Bluntschli, if it was only a question of your position ; but after all, Raina is used to living in great comfort. Sergius keeps twenty horses.
BLUNTSCHLI : But who has any need for twenty horses ? We're not going to keep a circus !
CATHERINE [coldly] : My daughter, sir, is accustomed to having first-rate horses.
RAINA : Be quiet, mother : you're making me seem foolish.
BLUNTSCHLI : Oh well, if it comes to a question of the number of horses, how's this ? [He goes quickly to the table and takes up the papers in the blue cover, turning to Sergius] What number of horses did you say ?
SERGIUS : Twenty, respected Switzer.
BLUNTSCHLI : I have two hundred horses. [They are very surprised]. What number of carriages ?
SERGIUS : Three.
BLUNTSCHLI : I have seventy. Twenty-four of them will hold twelve inside, and two on the box, and two on the driver's seat without taking into account the driver and ticket-man. How many tablecloths have you ?
SERGIUS : How on earth am I able to say ?
BLUNTSCHLI : Have you four thousand ?
SERGIUS : No.
BLUNTSCHLI : I have. I have nineteen thousand two hundred linen and wool bed coverings, with two thousand four hundred feather covers. I have ten thousand knives and forks, and the same quantity of spoons. I have three hundred servants. I have six great houses, and two horse businesses, a tea garden, and a private house. I have four military orders for important work ; I am a captain in the army, and a man of good birth ; and I have three different languages. Let me see any man in Bulgaria who has as much to give !
PETKOFF [with simple respect] : Are you Emperor of Switzerland ?
BLUNTSCHLI : My position is the highest there is in Switzerland : I am a free townsman.
CATHERINE : then, captain Bluntschli, seeing that you are my daughters selection --
RAINA [angry] : He's not.
CATHERINE [giving no attention to her] : -- I will not come in the way of what will make her happy. [Petkoff is about to say something] And that is Major Petkoff's feeling.
PETKOFF : Oh, I will be more than pleased. Two hundred horses ! Whew !
SERGIUS : What says the young woman ?
RAINA [seeming to be angry] : The young woman says that he may keep his tablecloths and his public carriages. I am not here to be given to the man who makes the highest offer.
BLUNTSCHLI : I'll not take that answer. I came to you for help as a runaway, without money or food. You took me in. You gave me your hand to be kissed, your bed to sleep in, and your roof to keep me safe --
RAINA [stopping him] : I did not give them to the Emperor of Switzerland.
BLUNTSCHLI : That's what I say. [He takes her by the arms, turning her to face with him] Now tell to whom you did give them to.
RAINA : To my chocolate sweetheart.
BLUNTSCHLI [with the happy laugh of a boy] : That will do. Good. [He takes a look at his watch and suddenly becomes businesslike]. Time's up, Major. You have done so well with those horsemen that you are certain to be requested to send away some of the men of the Teemok division. Send them back by way of Lom Palanka. Saranoff, don't get married till I come back : I will be here not a minute later than five in the evening two weeks from Tuesday. Dear Madam Petkoff, Raina -- good-night. [He goes out with a military step].
SERGIUS : What a man ! Is he a man !
- THE END -
Act I |
Act II |
Act III |
To the Reader
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