It is two o’clock in the morning. Blanche and Mitch have just returned from an amusement park. Blanche is clearly exhausted, and both are strained. Mitch apologizes for not entertaining her that evening, but Blanche tells him that it was her fault. She says that she will be leaving the apartment soon. Mitch asks if he can kiss her goodnight, and Blanche says that he needn’t ask permission. Mitch says that he asks because Blanche stopped him from becoming too familiar, and Blanche says that a single girl must be careful not to get “lost.”
Stanley’s veiled hints that he knows the truth about Blanche’s background have unnerved her. Neither being with Mitch nor the gaudy, fake world of the amusement park can fully distract Blanche from the nightmares of her past. Her treatment of Mitch’s advances exposes her double standard: though she will barely let Mitch kiss her, in secret, she aggressively seduced the paper-boy.
Blanche invites Mitch in for a night-cap. She lights candles and suggests that they pretend to be Bohemians in Paris. She asks if Mitch speaks French, and when he says that he doesn’t, she teases by asking in French if he will sleep with her. Mitch says that he wants to leave on his coat because he perspires, but Blanche insists that he be comfortable, and she removes it. Blanche admires Mitch’s strapping physique, and he boasts about his physical regimen.
Blanche’s sexual seduction in a language that Mitch cannot speak further emphasizes her hidden past and her complicated relationship with sex. Unlike Stanley, who asserts his physical dominance without asking, Mitch brags about his manliness with Blanche’s permission. Mitch is a beta to Stanley's alpha-male.
Mitch lifts Blanche up, declaring her “light as a feather,” and, while his hands are around her waist, begins to embrace her more tightly. She gently reproaches him, declaring that she has “old-fashioned ideals” while rolling her eyes out of Mitch’s sight.
Blanche wants to cultivate the image of herself to Mitch as a young, dainty ingénue, so even though she is quite sexually experienced, she pretends to be naïve, even though she knows—signified by her eye-roll—that it’s an illusion.
When Mitch asks where Stanley and Stella are, Blanche explains that they are out with Eunice and Steve. Mitch suggests that they all go out together, but Blanche demurs. Blanche asks Mitch what Stanley thinks of her, explaining that she is convinced that Stanley hates her. Mitch says that Stanley probably just doesn’t understand her.
Blanche doesn’t want her relationship with Mitch to become another version of the Stanley / Stella or Steve / Eunice dynamic: she wants to see Mitch as a gentleman and an escape from her surroundings. And Mitch truly does seem to be more sensitive than Stanley.
Blanche launches into a somewhat hysterical rant against Stanley, and also bemoans her impoverished state. Mitch interrupts to ask how old she is. Blanche asks why he wants to know, and Mitch explains that he has told his ill mother about Blanche, and that his mother would like to see him settled before she dies.
Blanche depicts herself as a damsel in distress, positioning Mitch as a knight in shining armor. She never wants to reveal her age because she wants Mitch to think she is much younger than she is.
Blanche says she understands about being lonely. She tells Mitch about her first husband: she married him while they were both very young, and though she loved him passionately, he was unhappy, always possessing a certain nervousness and softness. One day, she discovered her husband in bed with an older man. She and her husband pretended that nothing had been discovered and drove out to a casino together. But while Blanche and her husband were dancing the Varsouviana polka, she erupted, telling him that he disgusted her. Her husband, who she refers to as “the boy,” rushed out of the casino and committed suicide.
Blanche is surprisingly frank when she gives the tender account of her homosexual husband’s suicide. Williams uses music and light and dark imagery to emphasize the poignant nature of both the relationship and the death, and the connection of the polka with this incident explains to the audience why this music appears during times when Blanche is distressed and especially anxious—it indicates how Blanche is haunted by this past.
Mitch approaches her and embraces her, saying that they both need someone. As they kiss, Blanche sobs, “Sometimes––there’s God––so quickly!”
The tender, sad story draws Mitch in and wins his sympathy for Blanche. Blanche comments on how quickly everything is moving, but of course she's done a lot of quick-moving in the past. She's still playing the innocent ingénue.