BLUNTSCHLI (apologetically). Quite true, quite true. I always was that sort of chap. I'm very sorry. But now that you've found that life isn't a farce, but something quite sensible and serious, what further obstacle is there to your happiness?
RAINA (riling). You are very solicitous about my happiness and his. Do you forget his new love — Louka? It is not you that he must fight now, but his rival, Nicola.
SERGIUS. Rival!! (Striking his forehead.)
RAINA. Did you not know that they are engaged?
SERGIUS. Nicola! Are fresh abysses opening! Nicola!!
RAINA (sarcastically). A shocking sacrifice, isn't it? Such beauty, such intellect, such modesty, wasted on a middle-aged servant man! Really, Sergius, you cannot stand by and allow such a thing. It would be unworthy of your chivalry.
SERGIUS (losing all self-control). Viper! Viper! (He rushes to and fro, raging.)
BLUNTSCHLI. Look here, Saranoff; you're getting the worst of this.
RAINA (getting angrier). Do you realize what he has done, Captain Bluntschli? He has set this girl as a spy on us; and her reward is that he makes love to her.
SERGIUS. False! Monstrous!
RAINA. Monstrous! (Confronting him.) Do you deny that she told you about Captain Bluntschli being in my room?
SERGIUS. No; but —
RAINA (interrupting). Do you deny that you were making love to her when she told you?
SERGIUS. No; but I tell you —
RAINA (cutting him short contemptuously). It is unnecessary to tell us anything more. That is quite enough for us. (She turns her back on him and sweeps majestically back to the window.)
BLUNTSCHLI (quietly, as Sergius, in an agony of mortification, rinks on the ottoman, clutching his averted head between his fists). I told you you were getting the worst of it, Saranoff.
SERGIUS. Tiger cat!
RAINA (running excitedly to Bluntschli). You hear this man calling me names, Captain Bluntschli?
BLUNTSCHLI. What else can he do, dear lady? He must defend himself somehow. Come (very persuasively), don't quarrel. What good does it do? (Raina, with a gasp, sits down on the ottoman, and after a vain effort to look vexedly at Bluntschli, she falls a victim to her sense of humor, and is attacked with a disposition to laugh.)
SERGIUS. Engaged to Nicola! (He rises.) Ha! ha! (Going to the stove and standing with his back to it.) Ah, well, Bluntschli, you are right to take this huge imposture of a world coolly.
RAINA (to Bluntschli with an intuitive guess at his state of mind). I daresay you think us a couple of grown up babies, don't you?
SERGIUS (grinning a little). He does, he does. Swiss civilization nursetending Bulgarian barbarism, eh?
BLUNTSCHLI (blushing). Not at all, I assure you. I'm only very glad to get you two quieted. There now, let's be pleasant and talk it over in a friendly way. Where is this other young lady?
RAINA. Listening at the door, probably.
SERGIUS (shivering as if a bullet had struck him, and speaking with quiet but deep indignation). I will prove that that, at least, is a calumny. (He goes with dignity to the door and opens it. A yell of fury bursts from him as he looks out. He darts into the passage, and returns dragging in Louka, whom he flings against the table, R., as he cries) Judge her, Bluntschli — you, the moderate, cautious man: judge the eavesdropper.
(Louka stands her ground, proud and silent.)
BLUNTSCHLI (shaking his head). I mustn't judge her. I once listened myself outside a tent when there was a mutiny brewing. It's all a question of the degree of provocation. My life was at stake.
LOUKA. My love was at stake. (Sergius flinches, ashamed of her in spite of himself.) I am not ashamed.
RAINA (contemptuously). Your love! Your curiosity, you mean.
LOUKA (facing her and retorting her contempt with interest). My love, stronger than anything you can feel, even for your chocolate cream soldier.
SERGIUS (with quick suspicion — to Louka). What does that mean?
LOUKA (fiercely). It means —
SERGIUS (interrupting her slightingly). Oh, I remember, the ice pudding. A paltry taunt, girl.
(Major Petkoff enters, in his shirtsleeves.)
PETKOFF. Excuse my shirtsleeves, gentlemen. Raina: somebody has been wearing that coat of mine: I'll swear it — somebody with bigger shoulders than mine. It's all burst open at the back. Your mother is mending it. I wish she'd make haste. I shall catch cold. (He looks more attentively at them.) Is anything the matter?
RAINA. No. (She sits down at the stove with a tranquil air.)
SERGIUS. Oh, no! (He sits down at the end of the table, as at first.)
BLUNTSCHLI (who is already seated). Nothing, nothing.
PETKOFF (sitting down on the ottoman in his old place). That's all right. (He notices Louka.) Anything the matter, Louka?
LOUKA. No, sir.
PETKOFF (genially). That's all right. (He sneezes.) Go and ask your mistress for my coat, like a good girl, will you? (She turns to obey; but Nicola enters with the coat; and she makes a pretence of having business in the room by taking the little table with the hookah away to the wall near the windows.)
RAINA (rising quickly, as she sees the coat on Nicola's arm). Here it is, papa. Give it to me, Nicola; and do you put some more wood on the fire. (She takes the coat, and brings it to the Major, who stands up to put it on. Nicola attends to the fire.)
PETKOFF (to Raina, teasing her affectionately). Aha! Going to be very good to poor old papa just for one day after his return from the wars, eh?
RAINA (with solemn reproach). Ah, how can you say that to me, father?
PETKOFF. Well, well, only a joke, little one. Come, give me a kiss. (She kisses him.) Now give me the coat.
RAINA. Now, I am going to put it on for you. Turn your back. (He turns his back and feels behind him with his arms for the sleeves. She dexterously takes the photograph from the pocket and throws it on the table before Bluntschli, who covers it with a sheet of paper under the very nose of Sergius, who looks on amazed, with his suspicions roused in the highest degree. She then helps Petkoff on with his coat.) There, dear! Now are you comfortable?
PETKOFF. Quite, little love. Thanks. (He sits down; and Raina returns to her seat near the stove.) Oh, by the bye, I've found something funny. What's the meaning of this? (He put his hand into the picked pocket.) Eh? Hallo! (He tries the other pocket.) Well, I could have sworn — (Much puzzled, he tries the breast pocket.) I wonder — (Tries the original pocket.) Where can it — (A light flashes on him; he rises, exclaiming) Your mother's taken it.
RAINA (very red). Taken what?
PETKOFF. Your photograph, with the inscription: "Raina, to her Chocolate Cream Soldier — a souvenir." Now you know there's something more in this than meets the eye; and I'm going to find it out. (Shouting) Nicola!
NICOLA (dropping a log, and turning). Sir!
PETKOFF. Did you spoil any pastry of Miss Raina's this morning?
NICOLA. You heard Miss Raina say that I did, sir.
PETKOFF. I know that, you idiot. Was it true?
NICOLA. I am sure Miss Raina is incapable of saying anything that is not true, sir.
PETKOFF. Are you? Then I'm not. (Turning to the others.) Come: do you think I don't see it all? (Goes to Sergius, and slaps him on the shoulder.) Sergius: you're the chocolate cream soldier, aren't you?
SERGIUS (starting up). I! a chocolate cream soldier! Certainly not.
PETKOFF. Not! (He looks at them. They are all very serious and very conscious.) Do you mean to tell me that Raina sends photographic souvenirs to other men?
SERGIUS (enigmatically). The world is not such an innocent place as we used to think, Petkoff.