RAINA (completely losing her presence of mind). Oh, the chocolate cream soldier!
(Bluntschli stands rigid. Sergius, amazed, looks at Raina, then at Petkoff, who looks back at him and then at his wife.)
CATHERINE (with commanding presence of mind). My dear Raina, don't you see that we have a guest here — Captain Bluntschli, one of our new Servian friends?
(Raina bows; Bluntschli bows.)
RAINA. How silly of me! (She comes down into the centre of the group, between Bluntschli and Petkoff) I made a beautiful ornament this morning for the ice pudding; and that stupid Nicola has just put down a pile of plates on it and spoiled it. (To Bluntschli, winningly.) I hope you didn't think that you were the chocolate cream soldier, Captain Bluntschli.
BLUNTSCHLI (laughing). I assure you I did. (Stealing a whimsical glance at her.) Your explanation was a relief.
PETKOFF (suspiciously, to Raina). And since when, pray, have you taken to cooking?
CATHERINE. Oh, whilst you were away. It is her latest fancy.
PETKOFF (testily). And has Nicola taken to drinking? He used to be careful enough. First he shews Captain Bluntschli out here when he knew quite well I was in the — hum! — library; and then he goes downstairs and breaks Raina's chocolate soldier. He must — (At this moment Nicola appears at the top of the steps R., with a carpet bag. He descends; places it respectfully before Bluntschli; and waits for further orders. General amazement. Nicola, unconscious of the effect he is producing, looks perfectly satisfied with himself. When Petkoff recovers his power of speech, he breaks out at him with) Are you mad, Nicola?
NICOLA (taken aback). Sir?
PETKOFF. What have you brought that for?
NICOLA. My lady's orders, sir. Louka told me that —
CATHERINE (interrupting him). My orders! Why should I order you to bring Captain Bluntschli's luggage out here? What are you thinking of, Nicola?
NICOLA (after a moment's bewilderment, picking up the bag as he addresses Bluntschli with the very perfection of servile discretion). I beg your pardon, sir, I am sure. (To Catherine.) My fault, madam! I hope you'll overlook it! (He bows, and is going to the steps with the bag, when Petkoff addresses him angrily.)
PETKOFF. You'd better go and slam that bag, too, down on Miss Raina's ice pudding! (This is too much for Nicola. The bag drops from his hands on Petkoff's corns, eliciting a roar of anguish from him.) Begone, you butter-fingered donkey.
NICOLA (snatching up the bag, and escaping into the house). Yes, sir.
CATHERINE. Oh, never mind, Paul, don't be angry!
PETKOFF (muttering). Scoundrel. He's got out of hand while I was away. I'll teach him. (Recollecting his guest.) Oh, well, never mind. Come, Bluntschli, lets have no more nonsense about you having to go away. You know very well you're not going back to Switzerland yet. Until you do go back you'll stay with us.
RAINA. Oh, do, Captain Bluntschli.
PETKOFF (to Catherine). Now, Catherine, it's of you that he's afraid. Press him and he'll stay.
CATHERINE. Of course I shall be only too delighted if (appealingly) Captain Bluntschli really wishes to stay. He knows my wishes.
BLUNTSCHLI (in his driest military manner). I am at madame's orders.
SERGIUS (cordially). That settles it!
PETKOFF (heartily). Of course!
RAINA. You see, you must stay!
BLUNTSCHLI (smiling). Well, If I must, I must! (Gesture of despair from Catherine.)